the old woolshop
Old Woolshop home

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The Old Wool Shop
Diary of a renovation
Part 1: July 2004 - January 2005


We moved into the two bedroom cottage to the rear of the shops in July 2004 after a difficult couple of months getting finance together and sorting out conveyancing (always tricky when the solicitor can't be bothered).

The place looked like this from the outside when we moved in (click on small images for larger versions).

out the front out the back in the garden round the side of the big shop

First job after unpacking was to work out what we could do with the shops at the front. We spend a lot of time measuring and redrafting plans.

The Shop Fronts
In the end it took a few months to work out the best way to use the space. We also had to decide how best to infill the shop fronts in keeping with the rest of the building. We came up with many sketches, one of which we eventually chose and drew to scale. Once a scale drawing had been produced we got our only quote for the work as there was only one builder whom we could trust to deliver quality work. As we had opted for continuing with ashlar stone at the front it was to be a bit of a specialist job. The builder was booked for November and we continued to work out how best to link the shops to the house.


upstairs in the big shop downstairs in the big shop the little shop

The builders took five weeks to transform the front of both shops from glass and wood to a something that looked like it had been there all along. Apparently the stone alone cost over the £3000. The job included windows and a front door, all in hardwood so we ended up with a very high quality end result.

shop fronts shop fronts finished job

The Hedge
Whilst the builders were in I made a start on the roof of the big shop, fitting three veluxes to the valley gutter pitch of the roof. The first one was hard work and the slating back in was a struggle but they became easier with practice.I also removed the four metre high high leylandii hedge from the garden boundary, We pulled it out with the Land Rover, but that was the easy bit. We then had to get all ten metres of it the tip which took around six trips with a trailer. The hedge was replaced by a wooden fence set into the top of the existing brick wall. A native species hedge was planted and four trees (mountain ash and silver birch).

hedge hedge new fence and trees


As summer faded it became apparent that the stairwell in the cottage was very dark due to their being no natural light to it. We decided to fit a sunpipe to fill this area with natural light, as much as anything it was a waste of energy leaving lights on all the time. The Sunpipe channel light equivalent of a 100 watt bulb even on a overcast day, on a summers day if is extremely bright. We fitted the twelve inch pipe in a day, the photographs don't really do it justice. The impact on the outside of the house is minimal.

sunpipe exterior
sunpipe from the inside

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