Steve Ward took a sustainable approach in the renovation of this charming Rutland cottage
Bee Cottage is a beautifully renovated holiday rental property nestled in the rural county of Rutland. Co-owner Steve Ward, previously a special needs teacher for 11 years, decided to undertake the renovation of Bee Cottage after realising that his epilepsy condition affected his ability to successfully maintain his career in teaching; and so he decided that a change in career was needed. Steve took on the project whilst also returning to university as a part-time student studying for an MSc in Sustainability. “Renovating Bee Cottage has allowed me to run the cottage as a holiday home and promote local tourism to the area,” says Steve, who having previously lived in Sussex, now very much considers his home county as Rutland.
The cottage was originally built circa 1650 and at the time it was used for the visiting doctor in the village; in later years it was also used as a small hair salon. Over the years the cottage was extended and the layout changed by various owners. As a result, when Steve first saw the property, it was very disjointed in styling, and the use of rooms was not clear. “We were looking for a project where I didn’t need to do too much structural work, but required extensive updating,” says Steve. “The cottage was on the market for quite some time with most buyers put-off by the fact that the cottage needed a new thatch.”
Steve wanted to do as much of the work himself as physically possible, and threw himself into the project by doing tiling, installing details such as window ledges and shelving made from recycled scaffold boards, and he even learnt to do some basic plastering. However, he was also passionate about using skilled tradesmen from Rutland. “I was lucky enough to work with a master thatcher, Paul Dear, who did a fantastic job re-thatching the entire roof through the winter. Local bricklayer, Ray, helped re-stacking the chimneys and opened up the inglenook fireplace, and local carpenter James Stapling from Stapling bespoke fitted oak doors for us throughout the entire property.” Steve’s girlfriend Hanri helped to pick out colours, furnishings, and all of the finishing touches.
Keen to incorporate sustainable ideas into the design, the cottage is clear of clutter or fussy décor, whilst paying homage to the age of the property through details such as traditional black ironmongery door latches and black iron monkey tail window hardware. “Where possible, we incorporated upcycled details and furnishings,” explains Steve. “Excluding mattresses and some of the bed bases, the majority of the furniture is second hand or built from reclaimed materials – such as scaffold boards.”
For more information please visit: www.thebeecottage.co.uk