At the rear of the house to one side is the small service courtyard. I took this photo before that white gate outside on the left started to collapse from rot. The window you are looking out is in the breakfast room, which would have originally been the kitchen. There is a door from the scullery into the courtyard that then leads to the coal store, the servants’ toilet and to the side access of the house. In an earlier post I described how we were planning to change this area.
What we intend to do. Sorry it’s a bit blurry. As I mentioned before, we decided to do away completely with the small sunroom we planned at the back of the house (not pictured but would have been to the left on the plan above), instead opting to build a larger extension later, perhaps in the form of an orangery where those double doors lead out from the kitchen. To be true to the original structure of the house, and to save money, we are using the much of the current footprint of the house as well as some of the walls. Hopefully this will save on foundation and construction costs. Of course, they may dig and find that the current foundations are inadequate but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
This is what the back of the house looks like at the moment. Note the lack of windows and doors – this back half of the house was the servants’ area, so there was no peering out into the garden for them. The family’s entry to the garden is via the french doors in the dining room. The coal store is in the right hand side of the single story part of the building. The tall chimney you can see served the scullery’s ‘copper’ and the fireplace in the servants’ bedroom above.
The coal store door. If you look carefully you will see that the wall to the right hand side of the door has quite a bow to it. This current external structure will be demolished and then rebuilt utilising as many of the original bricks and roof tiles as possible.
Inside the coal store it is still black with coal dust and smells strongly of coal. You can also see the colour of the inside of the door – I suspect this was the original external colour before the Tardis-like royal blue.
A decorative air vent on the wall in the service courtyard. We are hoping we can keep the brickwork on this wall exposed (it will form the inside wall of the future utility room) with a sloping ceiling.
The specification and plans have now gone out to tender with six builders. They will have 30 days to visit the house and quote for the job if they are interested. Mark and I fear ours will be the only building job never to have anyone visit or quote. At the end of that time we will have a much better idea of what the renovation will cost and whether we need to divide the build and refurbishment into stages – or, preferably, whether I will have some extra money to spend on fittings and decor!