Former coach house full of charm

John and Liz moved to their detached Cotswold stone cottage in Oxfordshire eight years ago when they moved from a house just a few doors down as part of an exercise in downsizing when their two sons left home.

The property was originally a coach house and as late as the 1950s it resounded to the clatter of horse-drawn carriages.

John says: “The house, when we moved in, had already been converted. The main property was built around about 1852 and we think the cottage would have been built not long after that.”

Liz adds: “We wanted to be in the same location. It’s quiet and peaceful and I can walk or cycle into Witney and be in Oxford in half an hour. It was typical case of downsizing. Our two sons had left home and this house was convenient.

Downstairs to the house features a kitchen and reception room, with two bedrooms upstairs. There is a summer room to one side of a peaceful courtyard at the rear of the building.

Liz, who works as a personal assistant to an internationally renowned violinist now in her nineties says: “As soon as we moved in we realised the condensation was an issue. It was awful. Every year we had condensation, so I would cover the windows with temporary secondary glazing using plastic film. Every year I did that.”

John adds: “The woodwork of the windows was fine, but they weren’t double glazed and the doors fitted reasonably well, but not as good as we have now.”

On the ground floor, in two stages, Jack Brunsdon & Son installed two sets of French doors, two windows to the reception room and in the entrance lobby and the property’s front door. The windows are in Cream. The doors are finished in Cement Grey. The ironmongery is finished in Antique Black.

On the first floor, Jack Brunsdon installed five windows to the two bedrooms and French doors which lead from the master bedroom to a charming Juliet balcony and. The couple have retained the original shutters but plan to paint them to match the rest of the woodwork.

John says: “The condensation issue has completely disappeared. It’s much quieter, but most important is the warmth. It was noticeable last winter when we had the final windows done. We did the windows on the south-western side first. If there was any wind we would really feel it. When we saw the difference made by them we decided to do the rest of the house.

“The fitting was very straightforward. The team of installers were very helpful. The first stage took around a week. They fitted a set of French doors each day. They put down protective coverings and everything was cleared. They were very good in that respect.

“We’ve had two winters in the house now and it is so much cosier and the heating bills are noticeably less.”

John, who worked as a producer and presenter in local radio for BBC Oxford for 25 years and now hosts tours of the Cotswolds, adds: “The most important consideration was retaining the character of the cottage.

“We didn’t look at other window companies. A friend had used Jack Brunsdon in north Oxford and having seen the work done there I naturally asked who had done them because I could see it was a good job. We looked at the brochures and then went to their showroom at Blenheim Sawmills and that convinced us and we have nothing but praise for them.” 

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