Cowieswells is a derelict farm south of Stonehaven in NE Scotland. We were lucky enough to acquire the place in August 2010 when we were moving back to the UK from Norway and looking for something to match or even better our previous, fjord-side home. The farm house and steading (barns) command an impressive and exposed cliff top location with fantastic views across the North Sea. The buildings were constructed from sandstone in a traditional style and our goal in rebuilding it is to be sympathetic to the original design whilst creating a much larger house which is modern, efficient and maximizes the unique views.

Since we bought the place we have spent over a year working with architects, planners and generally doing stuff that doesn't make for interesting reading. This blog picks up the renovation process in late 2011 when work outside got started. Over the coming months it will be updated every week or so with pictures, movies and the odd bit of text. Like Grand Designs but without the suave sarcasm of Kevin McCloud.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Belated Update

We have been living here for 3 months and the place is gradually getting sorted. I have been meaning to post some pics of the finished project for a while but things have been a bit busy with moving in, keeping Sophie entertained (a full time job in itself), getting to know Abigail, new job, lots of travelling etc etc. It's been busy times!

So we moved in at about the best time off year with a long summer stretching ahead of us. It was super-windy for the first month and Katharine was getting a bit concerned that we had made a very big mistake, but then the wind died down and we have had an amazing summer. We splashed out to get the lawn turfed and then it was my turn to spend a month panicking that all that expensive grass was going to die. This led to frantically moving sprinklers around for 3 or 4 hours every night. It now looks quite lush and we had to buy a robot and a tractor mower to keep it under control.

And basically we love living here. Sophie gets me up most mornings at around 6am and I get to have first brew of the morning watching the sun playing in the clouds over the sea, creating the most amazing jesus-rays. And every morning its different. The garden is great for the kids (even the big ones) and we have been flying kites and sending up rockets and bouncing on the trampoline and basically enjoying life with lots of space.

Here are some pictures, at some point I will make some 'before and after' and also process all the thousands of timelapse images into something watchable. In the meantime this will give you a taster of what we got after 2 years of planning, building and waiting...

The finished project (clicking on the picture takes you to a click-through slide show of all the pictures below) 

Early morning view from the bedroom window
Sophie on her way to what has become called Grandma's house - the bothy
The trampoline - I am not allowed on it!
Another view of the house and the pit! Our sunken attempt to have somewhere to sit when its windy 
Sophie playing with the "wrong-shaped ball" on my fabulously watered lawn (cut by robot)
Kitchen and dinning area 
Remember that curved piece of steel? 
Kitchen and breakfast bar
And from the other direction...
Lounge area (which some have commented is strangely reminiscent of my house in Norway)
Old meets new
Stairs (and Sophie's art work under them!)
One of my favourite views of the house, I think this sums it all up but the picture doesn't really do it justice.
Those stairs again 
Upstairs landing
Bathroom, the otherside of that curved piece of steel. This room caused more head scratching than anywhere else in the house 
Bathroom detail (ask Katharine about this window...)
Outside at night 
New and old stonework
Another view at night 
Full moon over the sea and a fire pit. Its been a good summer
Squatters, already!!!
And the neighbours!

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