A charming stone cottage has been extended and restored to its former glory in Guernsey. The granite clad home features stunning views over Bordeaux harbour.

Seaview’ has been in Alison Wadley’s family since 1917, and successive generations had extended and altered the cottage before Alison and her husband Dave acquired it in 2008. Evidence suggests that the semi-detached property was originally built in 1888 as a simple two-up two-down, and censuses in the Guernsey archive show that the first occupants were quarry workers, who were probably responsible for crafting the beautifully constructed granite walls. The cottage stands in a stunning coastal location overlooking a small harbour and neighbouring islands, but was in need of total renovation.

The Project

  • Name: Alison and Dave Wadley
  • Build cost: £245,000 (£1,678/m²)
  • Build time: 2 years
  • Location: Gurnsey

“It was damp, with rotten windows and needed a new roof after being rented out for a number of years,” Dave recalls. “The building is listed and stands in a Conservation Area, so we had to consult closely with the local heritage and planning officers, who guided us through our proposal to renovate and extend the property for our retirement. Luckily our daughter Sarah was studying for a civil engineering degree, and had been working for a local architectural practice during her holidays so we drew up the plans and working drawings between us.”

After undertaking a great deal of research the Wadleys decided to replace an existing lean-to at the rear of the house with a green oak kitchen diner extension. Long evenings were subsequently spent researching and calculating the size of the beams which would be required. In the main cottage they decided to convert the two upstairs bedrooms into a spacious vaulted sitting room, incorporating new cast iron conservation rooflights.

The cottage had been ‘upgraded’ in the 1980s, which resulted in a large number of original features being removed. The couple thus hoped to save as many remaining features as possible, including most of the interior doors and the original bricks from some of the unstable interior walls, which were later used to rebuild the chimneys.

Like many local cottages the exterior of Seaview had been unsympathetically rendered with cement stucco, and its coastal location means that the property is pounded by the weather and was suffering from damp in some areas, with water trapped behind the cement. “We took the decision to strip the walls back to the stone to cure the problem once and for all, re-pointing the granite with lime and leaving it exposed to the front of the cottage,” explains Dave, who employed builder friend, Mike Marshall, to complete the renovation and extension work.

Once planning permission was in place the old lean-to scullery was removed and new foundations were laid for the oak framed extension, which was constructed like a giant 3D jigsaw to Dave and Sarah’s specifications.

Previously Seaview had no dining area and the head height and dimensions of the lean-to were too restrictive for it to be used as a functional room. “Historically the kitchen in a Guernsey cottage was the main hub of family life, and we now feel that the new kitchen has regained this status, and is the place where everyone enjoys spending time,” says Alison. “This was our first renovation project and it took twelve months of planning and two years of building to reach this stage, but we really have enjoyed every minute.”

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