Our 2-bedroom-house is located in rural Dorset. It was built in the 18th century. Very old, probably older than your grandad’s grandad. It is, in fact, older than Thomas Hardy’s cottage that is situated not far from where we live in Lower Bockhampton.
Sometimes it feels as though we still live in the century it was built in. The walls are made of cob, the roof is made of thatch, and there is no central heating.
For those who may read this from different parts of the world, cob walls are really thick walls, approximately 60cm deep. Essentially they are made out of soil, water, sometimes straw and dung. Apparently, some people nowadays are looking into cob walls again for more sustainable buildings.
Most of you probably know what thatched roof is, roofs that are made of leaves or straw or reed. In our case, it is made of Dorset reed. So no tiled roof, nothing that solid. The roof has to be replaced every 20 to 30 years depending on what type of material they used and how good was the thatch. It also has ridges or sides that have to be replaced every 10 to 15 years.
When we say that we have no central heating, it means that in our village no one else has central heating. People use things like oil, coal fire, and some, like us wood logs, to heat up the house. We have a traditionally-old-wooden-beamed-half-of-the-room-sized-fireplace.
Why this house?
Some of you might think, no central heating? walls made out of dung? fireplace and a roof made out of dried reed, doesn’t sound really safe. What if there are fire? Cold and sounds expensive to run. Why did these crazy people buy this house?
But some of you might think like we did, when we decided to buy the house, the house certainly has got characters. When the fire is on it is really cosy and homey. It has lovely wooden beams across the living room and wonderfully organic nooks and cranny everywhere. We love the layout, the sizes of the rooms and the really pretty garden.
We will tell you more about the house in our next posts. We can share our pain and joy of having a really old house that is also protected as a grade two listed house.
Have you got a similar house to us? how do you find it? any tips on how to manage all this?
If you have not got a similar house to us, what would you prefer to have a house full of character and comfortable or a house that is easy to live in and practical?