The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Dream build

Inca and stone dogLiving under six foot ceilings in our sixteenth century cottage sometimes gets to us. In summertime, we repair to the table beside the pond where the sky is as open as our dreams.

We have a lean-to barn at the south side of the cottage. We plan to knock through from the house and convert it to a decent sized kitchen, some day. Aga, atrium ceiling, the lot.

We know where we will buy our kitchen units, we have chosen the taps. We even know what we will do with the space that housed the old kitchen – (it’s so small that it could only be used as a hallway).

When we win the lottery the first call that we make will be to the builder. We know the one that will be best for us, and that is not necessarily the Best Builder. This is the mistake that many people make. They choose the cheapest or the most expensive. The latter is generally a bad idea.

If I am asked to quote for a job and don’t like the house/client/pet alligator, the tactful response is to put in an enormous bank-account-squeezing quote. Sometimes, to my horror, my exorbitant quote is accepted and I have to work alongside the pet alligator and feed it at lunchtime.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Yes, Amanda, you are spot on. I rely on intuition more and more when assessing and pricing a job. I am lucky, I have enough work to be able to avoid the dodgy clients.

    Well, Kate, there are so many dodgy ‘tradesmen’ in the UK that the lowest quote is generally rejected. I’m cheering you on to win the lottery!

    Pat – we are still dreaming but it’s fun. The Aga will be cream…

    Celia, there’s a lot to be said for hesitation.
    D is 5’9″ so just fits (snugly) into the cottage.
    We will get the kitchen – lots of positive visualisation is going on here.

  2. Good insight into builders quotes (but it’s just the same as illustration job quotes – sometimes a client offers me a fee, once I hesitated because I was so shocked how high it was and they offered more!!!)

    I didn’t get a chance to buy a cute Suffolk cottage – the OH is 6’4” so low ceilings were out! (that cut out about 80% of properties round here!)

    Hope you get that dream kitchen built one day – go for it!

  3. Best of luck with the new kitchen. I can only dream here….

  4. That is quite something … I thought most people chose the cheapest quote. Ah, a new kitchen. I’ll cheer you on with winning the lottery if you cheer me on. I need a new kitchen countertop!

  5. Last paragraph. I know a few people who employ this tactic and when the expensive quotes are accepted they’ve usually been right on their instinct of not wanting to take the job.

    Love the dream/plan for the barn.

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