Owner Story: Blackbird Cottage
Pamela Jimenez looked for two years to find the perfect property in Winchester, she knew exactly where she wanted to live, in the small historic area of cobbled streets nestled between Winchester Cathedral and Winchester College, where time stands still in this peaceful and unique area steeped in history. When Blackbird Cottage came on the market, Pamela knew there was not a moment to lose and put an offer in without even walking through the front door.
Hoping it would not need much work, she came over to have a look. Instead of the usual paint, carpets and curtains, she had some major refurbishments to undertake. Years of neglect, damp and woodworm meant that the cottage had to be totally gutted. The reputable firm of builders took the cottage back to the stud walls and discovered that the foundations were filled with all types of hardcore, great hunks of chalk and wall stones going back to Roman times – quite staggering. Pamela was fascinated by the history of these cottages and so took a trip to Winchester City Council offices where all the records were stored. She wanted to renovate the house to a high standard, to put the historic design elements back. In the 1890s the cottages were built where the original stables stood and Pamela was able to access the original drawings from the archives at Winchester City Council. From these she was able to re instate the style of the times, the door was hand built and cornices were designed to match these drawings. The challenge was to renovate it but keep it feeling very English, cosy but fresh with a contemporary touch.
Almost everything you touch or see in Blackbird Cottage is English or made in England. The lights are replicas of the ones Churchill used in his War Rooms, Bestlite, with black tin shades and brass fittings. The beautiful limed oak floorboards which run the length of the property were sourced at Fired Earth along with tiles and stone. Bath fittings are all from Lefroy Brooks to maintain a classic style. Lights were sourced from Tom Dixon hand blown lights and DTC English lighting. Bespoke cast iron radiators were chosen from Castrads, Pamela insisted on high quality in every area. The Charnwood woodburner was hand made on the Isle of Skye, all of the linens are from The White Company whilst the luxurious goose down duvets are from Harrods – superb. Blackbird Cottage curtains are made from Pierre Frey embroidered linen with plain white linen in the bedrooms. Sofas and chairs were handmade in England using English linen.
If you love cooking, you’ll really enjoy using the French Lacanche range which stands proudly in the pretty shaker kitchen handmade by the English Kitchen Company. Pamela wanted to give the cottage integrity, and has chosen the best quality fixtures and fitting as it would have been given when it was built and added her own magical touch with all the 21st century amenities.
There are some amazing paintings decorating the walls of Blackbird Cottage. These were sourced locally - some from award winning artist and former pupils at Winchester College, James Song. Hand painted linocuts of Winchester Cathedral by local Winchester artist, Clare Saba also create huge interest.
Pamela was able to bring in her interior design expertise in every room, even the cloakroom has had a stunning ceramic floor added and there’s a No 5 on the floor created from mosaic tiles. Not only has Pamela has designed a superb home from home in a gorgeous part of this historic English city; she’s created a showcase of English craftsmanship using the best of English tradesmen and materials – the result is magnificent.
‘We love having a home in England and particularly Winchester, it really works well sharing it as a holiday cottage in the times we are not able to come. Not only can we let friends and family use it with or without us, there are times when we can use it for business purposes as we have clients especially in London and getting back to Winchester is a piece of cake’.
‘We have brought our friends from America to stay in Blackbird Cottage which they have found charming and have adored experiencing life in Winchester. We hope that others will enjoy this home as much as we do, in the heart of this historical English cathedral city’.
And what about the name? A little blackbird often visits the garden at Blackbird Cottage, singing its melodic song – how lovely.
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or if you’d prefer to talk to one of our team, please call 01227 464958 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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