Lots of you have asked for the cottage floor plans - so here they are. I made a few changes to these - omiting the kitchen door, rejigging the upstairs landing and bathroom door and re positioning the kitchen units and bathrooms suites - little things that have made quite a big difference to the house which has a small foot print (so space maximisation is crucial).
If I were to give any tips for working with a small ish cottage it would be this:
1) Plan your kitchen and bathroom layouts with the utmost care - and be clever rather than crowd the rooms with units and fittings. For example all the kitchen appliances are built in which means the eye isn't drawn to unsightly white goods (which make a small room look cluttered). We bought a small dresser to act as a larder and display, which matches the units but also works as a stand alone feature. We used a concealed cistern in the downstairs WC for the same stream lined approach and turned the bathroom door outward (so it opens on the the landing) which gave more useable floor area.
2) Think of any potential 'view through' opportunities. I made sure you could see the outside from one end of the house to the other - aligning door ways and making sure colour schemes were tonal/complementary from one room to the next. Your eye can then 'borrow' space from the adjoining room and has an extended line of vision which gives the perception of spaciousness.
3) Consider the interior treatments - I chose oak boards for the entire ground floor so that your eye isn't disturbed by different materials and the rooms have a harmonious relationship (it is also less expensive because , despite oak being more costly than travertine, the slab could be laid to one level and we only needed one trade to lay the flooring (a carpenter - versus a carpenter and tiler if we had two coverings)
I also had the ceilings, windows and walls painted the same colour throughout - I think having white ceilings can work when the ceiling is flat, but not when the ceiling is vaulted or sloping. We painted the upstairs doors the same colour so that we didn't have 'wood wars' (ie too much wood, conflicting against itself in terms of colour, texture and general orangeyness)
4)Buy the best you can - one advantage of a small house is that there isn't much to buy in general , and so you can probably afford to finish the house well. Hand made roof tiles, hand knapped cobbles, oak flooring, blacksmith made fittings, reclaimed stone hearth - all make a big difference in little cottage but proportionally aren't that much more than 'cheaper' alternatives. It would have been less expensive to have flat ceilings but the vaulted ceilings are a significant feature and make the upstairs feel large and bright. Luckily the house was so pretty externally that I only had to spend about £800 on plants and shrubs to 'green' up the lovely courtyard and pathways.
If I think of anything else I will let you know...............and if you have any specific questions do leave me a comment, I love to read your comments and it makes writing the blog worthwhile. Thank you!