The drawings for the tiny fisherman’s cottage are back from the architect and we’re impressed. He has really, really listened to us, taken into account my layout drawings, and given us lots of notes explaining his reasoning for where he’s done something differently to our thoughts.
We have a site meeting with him next Wednesday to go through some decisions he needs us to make and then hopefully it’s time to send an application off to the planning department and cross our fingers very hard.
I’ve been thinking about how to furnish this place and while I know I’m going to have to get new sofas and a new bed because of the laws about flame-retardant upholstery, I’m seriously considering going round the local auction houses for some of the rest. Modern furniture isn’t going to look right in this building, it needs a few genuine antiques or good reproductions mixed in to give it the right feel. I’ve been watching the antique furniture and collectibles sale online from a near-ish auction house today (near-ish as in I can get there with my van in about three hours) and although the Georgian mahogany serpentine chest of drawers I had on my watchlist went for £1,650, the Georgian console table went for £85 and a really beautiful carved oak sideboard for just £2! (I’m sure there must have been something seriously wrong with it, but it looked okay from the photos). Next time they have one of these, which is roughly quarterly, I’ll nip down and have a good rummage round on the viewing day.
Also interesting this week was the online conference the holiday cottage agency I’m with (Awaze) did for all its owners, culminating in an hour’s chat and Q&A with Sarah Beeny. Lots and lots of good ideas and I’m particularly intrigued by the possibility of using Tesla Powerwalls to build a modern house that’s completely off grid. One to think about for a future project…
We’re having an unexpectedly soggy start to it up here – we were forecast a nice dry day with a gentle breeze to the south, so Mick set off down the road this morning intent on clearing out the woodwormy boards from the barn and having a big bonfire. It was going well until about half an hour ago when the skies opened, but he’s manfully carrying on, as there isn’t that much left to go (we had a big fire on Saturday as well and got rid of all the wood lying out in the field).
I’ve been cramming myself into the corners of the bedrooms with my tripod and camera and think I’ve managed to come up with some photos good enough to go up on Scottish Cottages. They accepted the exterior ones anyway, which is good, so I’ve sent five shots of the bedrooms over and tomorrow I’ll get Mick to help me load the coffee table into the car and then I can stage the living room and photograph that as well.
In very exciting news, we have our first booking!!! Cheating a bit, because it’s a friend, but she emailed me the other day to say she’d booked a week in the summer and was looking forward to seeing us 🙂 Neither she nor I have had a confirmation email through yet, but I’m assuming that’s because everything’s shut down for the holidays and the agency won’t confirm until the deposit has cleared through their payment system.
As far as I can tell at the moment, the start of 2018 for us is going to look something like this:
January & February: finish Ethel’s. We have 59 days until we could potentially have a guest, as it’s available from 1st March.
March: Hopefully welcome first guests (it’s an early Easter this year). Get house-cleaning routine thoroughly documented so it can be handed over to Clean Bees if necessary.
April: Get to grips with social media promotion before lambs start arriving for cute photo ops!
What we’ll do post-Ethel, we’re still not 100% sure. Our options are:
- Buy another holiday let
- Buy another project to renovate into a holiday let
- Buy a plot and build a holiday let
- Build a house and agricultural shed on a big field we already own in the village (I need to get planning through for the shed this year, as I need to apply for a crofting grant for it before Brexit happens – it needs full planning rather than prior notification because the site is less than 25m from the road, so we might as well put a house on the same application)
- Renovate the house we live in which is, to put it politely, looking a bit tired
One thing’s for sure, it’s not going to be boring 🙂