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The Timber Cottage renovation in Cornwall

The self-builders made the most of the vista from the roof of their Cornish timber cottage

By Sophie Venning | 10 January 2017

In this innovative renovation project, Gregory Kewish and Rebecca Sturrock built upwards to make the most of the vista from the roof of their timber cottage in Cornwall.

Sometimes, the solution you need is right in front of you. Gregory Kewish and Rebecca Sturrock were struggling to sell their recently renovated house in Padstow, Cornwall, and were living in a small cottage on Rebecca’s parents’ land.

‘One evening, we climbed up to the roof to look at the view. We suddenly realised the potential of the timber extension,’ says Gregory. ‘Straight away, we crunched the numbers to see what we could afford.’

The timber cottage in North Cornwall from grand designs

Gregory, here with Rebecca and twins Billie and Ava, built all the furniture himself, including the dining table and benches. Photo: Paul Ryan-Goff

Gregory, who has a Masters degree in architecture from the USA, put together a design brief for the timber cottage in Cornwall. ‘We wanted to give ourselves more room and provide our twin daughters with their own bedroom,’ he explains. ‘The existing cottage only measured 42 square metres, so we needed extra space.’

He decided to use cross-laminated timber to cantilever a new house over the old building, which provides a biggerfloorplan, while retaining its rustic charm. ‘We wanted a healthy home with lots of light, which captured the view across the Cornish countryside.’

The timber-clad kitchen in the timber treehouse from Grand Designs in North Cornwall

All kitchen and utility appliances are A++ rated. Photo: Paul Ryan-Goff

To cut down on costs and gain experience, Gregory was keen to build the timber cottage himself, so he sourced a small German company willing to sell the timber to an individual. Together with a friend, builder Richard Mashiter, he kept to a tight schedule and the family moved in nine months after work began.

The end result is a spacious, warm-looking interior, full of natural light. Kevin McCloud described the timber cottage in Cornwall as ‘one of the most beautifully crafted houses I’ve ever seen’.