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Last Updated : Tue, 17 August, 2010 11:04 AM
Case Study 2 : Drum Manor, Cookstown
The task of making a brand new house look old
as an authentic whitewashed cottage is something of a challenge
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This ambitious couple managed to buy an acre of land, build their dream home and furnish it from top to bottom without any hitches within a year and nine months. We'd lived in a semi-detached for 10 years and needed more space . It happened on a whim, explains Sarah. A friend of Paul had bought a two acre site and Paul phoned him to see if any more land was available. He offered Paul half of his - we knew roughly where it was but hadn't seen it, but Paul sealed the deal there and then. It later transpired it wasn't the field we originally thought it was. Nevertheless it all turned out well.

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Having considered moving house for some time, Sarah and Paul gathered clippings of styles and ideas they liked and used magazines as their main source of inspiration. "We love the old cottage style, so even though we built a new house, we knew all along it would far more contemporary showroom look. The build ran very smoothly and before long we were able to concentrate on the interior. Because they had such a clear idea of what they wanted, the layout of the house was drawn up by Don Sonner within a couple of days. It sounds like an impossible smooth operation.

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The kitchen was designed by Croft interiors. A country style design, it compliments the rest of the interior. The sunroom is an open and airy room with a striking ceiling fan Paul done the plastering and tiling. The interior walls are roughcast. The rough finish is achieved by pressing a plastic bag filled with straw into the plaster. The effect is to avoid straight, sharp streamlined edges.

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When we tell people that we've built a house with roughcast walls
and no skirting or architraves, they thing we're joking.

More Fernhill stone is introduced throughout the house. Sparsely placed on certain areas of wall, it creates the effect of stone showing through the whitewash. Enhancing the authentic feel, there is a bonding effect on the ceiling. To achieve this, a brush wash dragged across the wet finish. A smoothly painted ceiling would be too much of a contrast against the walls.

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The interior shows a love for all things old and filled with character . The bay window doubles as a window seat. The walls had to be unusually thick because the blocks were laid on their side rather than upright. There's a stained glass window in the bathroom to add character.

Our second anxious moment actually lasted for rather longer, weeks in fact. We'd ordered Spanish tiles for the floors downstairs but the supplier let us down, and we were facing the prospect of a long delay on the interior as conventional wisdom is that you don’t fit skirtings and doors until you know the finished floor is level. I decided that we'd throw out the rule book and do things in reverse! By the time the tiles arrived all we had to do was lay them, the floor was completed in good time and it all fitted in very well.'

The landing is a feature in itself. "We could have compromised on the size of the landing to make the bedrooms larger but we always wanted a large landing.

Sarah and Paul have successfully created a brand new home with a charming traditional feel. Stepping through the door is like stepping back in time.

The original article is from Home Interiors Magazine November 2005 is available as a downloadable pdf
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Tel. 028 8676 9654 Copyright © Don Sonner Architectural Services 2018. All rights reserved.