Owner Story: Gainest Cottage and Red Kite CottageWe interview Jane Giorgi, owner of Gainest Cottage, Yorkshire and Red Kite Cottage, Oxfordshire.
How long have you been holiday letting?
‘We started holiday letting in 2002 and have had a number of properties over the past 15 years that we’ve either holiday let or let on an Assured Short Term (AST) tenancy, depending on their situation, we just make the decision so that we can make the best financial outcome possible. The two properties we have at present with Mulberry Cottages are in attractive villages in good tourist areas – so ideal for holiday letting.’
Which property came first?
‘We restored Gainest Cottage in Halifax over a six month period. It had been in the family for over 200 years. My mother’s family were master dyers in the small town on the edge of the Pennines. The cottage was opposite the dye works which belonged to the Wainhouse family and my great, great grandfather who worked as the master dyer rented the cottage. As time went on he bought it and in 1887 my grandmother was born there. From there it was passed down generation to generation’.
A few years back, my mother in her old age, offered me the house, which is when I decided to start the renovation programme on our much loved family house. Gainest Cottage had received very little modernisation since the range was knocked out in 1935 and a new fire surround had taken its place. In 2014 when we started the building work, there was no bathroom, just a cold water tap in the kitchen, gas-lights (one of the original lights remains as part of the decoration), and an outside privy.
My husband and I have managed to retain the original features which remained, using original doors and matching them with finds from reclamation yards and local antique shops. We found local craftsmen who restored and fitted doors and found door furniture in perfect keeping with the original style.'
Left: Gainest Cottage before the renovation, Right: Gainest Cottage after the renovation.
With experience of Gainest Cottage, was Red Kite Cottage an easier transformation?
‘There were lots of areas we could replicate when doing a second property for instance we brought our kitchen fitter down from Halifax to install the kitchen into Red Kite Cottage. With wonky walls and beams to trial us, our installer made it work perfectly.’
What difficulties did you have to overcome?
'Just as we’d finished the cottage unfortunately, the water pipe to the dishwasher burst causing the kitchen to flood. .
The new Karndean flooring was immersed in a foot of water, which ran into the cellar too. I arrived at the property to find the rugs hanging on the hedges and the place drying out well thanks to our next-door neighbour. Luckily the Karndean flooring was totally fine which was quite amazing.
Red Kite Cottage was not without a few hurdles of its own… When the builder was removing the roof tiles, he discovered that there was just brown paper bags between the rafters and the roof tiles so we had to take all the tiles off and start from scratch.
It’s been a good experience, we’ve met some lovely guests, had wonderful comments and feedback. Not only has it provided us with an income, it had given work to local people and we have met some really talented craftsmen and women along the way.’
Left: Red Kite Cottage before, Right: Red Kite Cottage after
For information regarding these holiday properties, click on the names below:
Gainest Cottage - Calder Valley, Halifax, Yorkshire | Sleeps 2 in 1 bedroom | Pet Friendly
Red Kite Cottage - Watlington, Oxfordshire | Sleeps 4 in 2 bedrooms | Pet Friendly