When the owners of this cottage in deeply rural Wiltshire discovered the place in 1993 it was love at first sight. “Wood houses are a sensible choice especially in regard to maintenance and economy. People fail to realise how naturally warm they are and, to be honest, all of the brick built houses we had ever owned were money pits,” says Ken B*.
For Ken and his wife Sara the move to such a peaceful retreat came after years of running a business in London, so the contrast could hardly be greater. “Over the years we’ve come to love it even more. The location is an area of outstanding natural beauty, the neighbours are friendly and we’re within striking distance of most services. The cottage is part of the landscape: it’s been here almost 100 years and I think it’s good for another 100 since the work.”
The attraction of the timber house centred largely on ease of maintenance but latterly the couple realised that the cottage needed re-cladding.
“We put the task of selecting the timber in the hands of Barlow’s Woodyard at Honeystreet and the actual work in the hands of local tradesmen who were brilliant,” says Ken. “We checked out Siberian Larch but to be honest it was way too expensive and we wanted to buy something more local. We heard about Great British Timber from Ransfords – in this case British Grown Larch – and decided to go for that. The new insulation is sheep’s wool from Celtic Sustainables in Wales and the roof is from the UK too. In fact, apart from Rod Farg, the specialist Scandinavian paint supplied by T? Mawr we’ve now applied to the timber, the whole job is British through-and-through and we love it!”
Ken notes that timber clad buildings are becoming more common in their part of the world. “It’s great to see natural materials making a come-back. Durable home-grown timber sits so well in a rural location like this,” he says. “Around here, weather-boarded buildings are either painted black or left to weather to grey. Both of these are dull or industrial looking. I have been aware of Swedish wood houses for a long time and knew that houses painted with this excellent non-toxic paint can be around 200 years old and well preserved. So it seems a wise choice. Plus, in all lights and weather it varies in shades and gives off a nice warm glow. It ought to be better known as a finish for wood buildings.”
*name changed to protect privacy