Carlisle cottage transformed with loving care

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The property, in Kingstown Road, is believed to date from the 1800s and have been either a toll cottage or a worker's dwelling, although owners Derek and Hilary Robinson have not turned detective to discover more, despite their best intentions.

However, an indication of age is that the front walls are quite thick and also the window sill in the front room, said Derek.

From the roadside the house gives no indication of just how spacious the accommodation is, with a 15ft lounge, main bedroom with dressing area and a very large dining kitchen (19ft-plus) which has a conservatory leading off it into the garden.

"We’ve been here for 13 years and the first major thing we did was install a conservatory on the back of the house which opens the living area to the garden," Derek said. "It’s faces south-westerly so get lots of sun. Since then we’ve done an awful lot of work to the garden, trying to make it as attractive a feature as possible.

"The middle part is laid to grass and we’ve put golden shillies all the way round the property from coming in the side gate right round the conservatory and to the back door. We’ve made a couple of paths within the garden and Hilary has created three rockeries. The garden now has quite a lot of perennial plants and climbers so it’s low-maintenance."

The Robinsons have revamped their home over the years, with work including a new front door, new fireplace, new bathroom fittings, kitchen upgrade and making a dressing area off the bedroom, which came about thanks to a bright idea from Derek.

He explained: "To the right of the property there was what people would have called a garage but it was never big enough for that, it was just an outbuilding attached to the cottage, set back from the front.

"We used it for rough storage but several years ago we needed to get it re-roofed and hit upon the idea of splitting it into two.

"The front part is now still storage, the boiler and so on, but in the second part we got the builder to take the chimney breast out of the bedroom and open up a doorway from the bedroom to the back of this building and we created a dressing room. It has given us some fantastic extra space for storage and is also a nice feature with a doorway off the bedroom."

The space at the front of this outbuilding now provides a space for car parking as the pavement is quite wide. The reconfigured bedroom has ceiling spotlights and loft access, while the second bedroom also has spotlights, as well as fitted furniture.

Other revamps include installing the inglenook fireplace and oak lintel in the lounge - "to make a bit more of a feature of the room".

Derek added: "The dining kitchen is a large space, we’ve redecorated and put new doors and worktops on the cabinets. It’s a lovely long stretch of room opening to the conservatory. From now until autumn, when it starts to get chilly, we use this as our living area. It’s pleasant in the sunshine, looking at the garden.

"The conservatory is our favourite spot, it’s so lovely to relax there. The garden and conservatory are the main attraction here, even one of the neighbours said so.

"From the front the house just looks like a tiny cottage and everyone is very surprised when they see just how much room there is.

"We’re moving to be closer to our family in the North East but we’ve thoroughly enjoyed living here and will be extremely sorry to leave."

Kingstown Road, Carlisle, is for sale at £175,000 from Cumbrian Properties, tel. 01228 599940.

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