I’ve just been to view a cottage I feel quite positive about.  Blogging here in the hope it’ll help reach a decision on it.  It’s a living room and a kitchen/diner downstairs, with bathroom and three bedrooms upstairs.  The overall size is just about enough to be comfortable, with the pleasant dining area and better second-bedroom size being clear advantages compared to the current place.  Above all, it’s going to be quieter than here.


  • Solid cottage build with thick walls, modernised to a decent standard and in good decorative order.
  • Meets all my basic needs without serious shortcomings.
  • Village location presumed quiet (except for the church which is right next door, and tolled the hour while I was there).
  • Easy cycling into the city, and walkable to Tesco.  Also edge of Dartmoor.
  • Adequate ‘phone signal (though no 3g) and ADSL.


  • No outdoor storage, so the bike has to occupy indoor space.  The current tenants have one bedroom as a storage room with bikes, surfboards, etc; I’d have to do similar.  So no spare room, just one bedroom + one office.
  • No gas: electric heating for hot water, and night storage heating.  Can’t see myself using that and having it hot all day (unless I were to go down with a lurgy sufficiently bad to need warmth) which loses the convenience of being able to turn the heating on if I have visitors who expect it.  As against that, there’s a working fireplace in the sitting room that could serve, in principle at least.
  • There’s a horrible built-in oven and hob.  The latter (which is what I mostly use) is solid electric.  This is what I’ll find a daily pain 😦
  • The garden is going to be hard work, with an expanse of very uneven lawn to manage.
  • Lacking a few nonessential nice-to-haves, like real views, or space for a dishwasher, or a w.c. separate from the bathroom.

So do I take it, or go on looking?

Posted on November 17, 2009, in homes. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. All-electric makes it slightly easier to consider solar panels for either electricity and/or water (working on the local micro-generation, “you use it – you produce it” principle).

    Presumably you could get a new cooker hob anyway. The red glowy sort are particularly nice – as clean as electric but gas’s instant responsiveness.

    Parking (for the occasional friendly visitor if not you too)? Is it me or is the frontage a horribly depressive suburban shade of charcoal-grey?

  2. Hi,

    didn’t like these storage heaters where I rented.
    It all translated down to the property being cold.

    Haven’t managed a dish washer in my currently rented property but there is space so i can probably still do it.

    For me these two – gas heating and dishwasher feasibility would be quite important.
    Not having a garden shed or a garage sounds like a slight disadvantage too.

  3. Shed = weekend’s work for a handful of friendly folks and has the bonus of less rough grass to be dealing with. 🙂

  4. Tim, nope, you’re thinking of owning a place, I’m talking about renting (I could probably get a mortgage now, but damned if I want to do so while housing is still in a bubble – rather invest my money where it gets me a chunky five-figure tax rebate).

    Sure, if I bought it I’d put in solar panels (that’s a south face in the photo), put up a garden shed fit for bikes/etc, and strip out the cooker and slot in my existing one (which is old – I’d guess about 40 years based on similarity to what the parents had in the 1970s – but great). I’d also consider that garden a real asset: there’s scope for growing some tasty fruit/berries/veg there, and maybe even a beehive! But none of that applies when renting.

    Agree the colour isn’t inspiring, and the back is all the more blotchy. But I like it inside! Oh, and parking isn’t a problem: that road in the picture is a cul-de-sac, and immediately to the right of the photo it ends at the gate to the church!

  5. I don’t see you carting your bike or backpack up the, presumably narrow, staircase each time you’ve used them; having them clutter up the nice living area would rather spoil it. And what about the lawnmower and other things to mind the garden? How frequently do the churchbells chime? I’d keep looking.

  6. I just don’t get the .uk preference for small dark cottages with horrible energy efficiency and ancient fittings.
    I’d keep looking.

  7. mads – you’d get it if you’d seen just how ghastly modern property in .uk is. I guess it’s mostly since 1945 we’ve had wave after wave of “low cost”(!) housing, so that older houses are the only ones of decent build.

    I’ve never lived in .dk, but my experience in your neighbours (.se and .de) is of good quality modern flats that were pleasant to live in. If they were like that here I’d be happy in one.

    Oh, and what’s dark about this cottage? Those are nice big windows, and the sitting room has them on three sides (front, side and back of the cottage).

  8. We’re lucky enough to have developing a bunch of houses just down the road. Looks like something straight off _Grand Designs_, very much an “eco box” in the middle of somewhere.

    What horrifies me is that eco-friendly designs have been around for years and yet the country is still populated by brick and concrete monstrosities with seemingly no desire to add any energy-efficient toys. After watching said Interminable enough, I can’t see why a builder would lay one brick atop another these days!

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