Owner Story: Church Cottage, Dorset

Church Cottage

Cattistock, Dorset | Sleeps 4 | Pet Friendly

How did you come about holiday letting in this part of the world?
‘I spent quite a bit of my childhood in the village and ended up owning a garage and a piece of land in a wonderful location right next to the churchyard gates. We applied for planning permission to change the garage into a house, but this was rejected.

The village is full of Grade II buildings, the church being Grade I, so it’s almost impossible to build anything new in the centre. After we were turned down for planning permission on appeal, I managed to find an old photo of the cottage which stood on the land before the garage. Despite it being a conservation area, we were eventually allowed to build an exact replica of the original cottage – 19th Century in appearance but with a 21st Century interior. So, the plans were for a thatched roof, walls of Purbeck stone and lime render, oak lintels and a brick chimney.’


Before and after...

What 21st century features have you installed in Church Cottage?
‘We installed an air source heat pump which runs the hot water and underfloor heating, along with electric radiators in the bedrooms and bathrooms. There is a gas fired burner, which is cleaner and simpler than solid fuel, and gives out instant comfort heat, although this is really not necessary as the underfloor heating does such a good job and the house is so well insulated. The property is double glazed, has a ventilation system, has fibre broadband, and flat screens in every room. The drawing room is vast, and transforms into a home cinema (Sky Movies) with a motorised TV hidden in a bookshelf. I designed the house with comfortable living in our retirement years in mind. I wanted to use the best materials and have the best finishes and therefore the floors downstairs are limestone, the stairs are solid oak and the bathrooms are travertine.’

Nick specifically collected 20th Century fine art to fit Church Cottage, mainly English watercolour landscapes – all sourced locally, even the Russian art in the drawing room – ‘art in a holiday cottage must complement the rooms and suit the majority of people’s tastes’.


Did you encounter any difficulties with the building of Church Cottage?
‘The churchyard wall caused a few problems and it took a year to repair and build the foundations. It needed steel and concrete, then finishing with stone and lime mortar. There were numerous people involved such as conservation architects and archaeologists. I decided it was easier to pay for this work, rather than waste endless time and money with lawyers before I could progress with the house which we completed in 2015.

The garden was derelict when we undertook the project. A designer friend came over and helped work out the structure and give me some advice. The original plans had narrow steps between the two levels and we made these as wide and deep as possible, creating a good sense of space and light within the house.’


Before and after...

Why have you chosen holiday letting rather than long term letting for Church Cottage?
‘Church Cottage is our family home and we spend quite a bit of time here but work in London too, and travel quite a bit, allowing us to be flexible with the property. When we finally retire, we will spend even more time here, but until then, we can let others enjoy the cottage as it’s positioned in such a wonderful location in one of the prettiest Dorset villages, with a shop and a pub, and within easy reach of the Jurassic coast. The comments in our guest book say it all.’

For more information about Church Cottage click here – if you would like to talk to our booking team, just call on 01227 464958, we’d love to talk to you.