They say the most important part is to begin...
I thought some of you might be interested in seeing how the recent renovations have come along…Such slow progress but at least there is hot and cold running water now and electricity and a full bath. I was able to actually sleep in the cottage for the first time when I last visited and it felt like such an achievement even though there is still so much to be done.
Come in and take a look...
Probably the most satisfying accomplishment was the addition of a fully functioning bathroom. Once it's painted and the stonework polished and sealed, it will look so much better. I bought linseed oil to refinish the floors with, but ran out of time. They're in surprisingly good shape considering, so I'm thrilled to be able to save them at all. It's so frustrating to have such a short time frame to get everything done. I can't wait to paint the walls with a traditional whitewash. That'll brighten things up a bunch. And the powdery feel of the whitewash always reminds me of childhood days at my grandparents' home.
I loved collecting my grandparents things, long abandoned and forgotten in the barn, like the old weight that's been turned into a handy door stopper. All the furniture is handed down, some of it vintage, some just used. Here's a peak into the bedroom. Right now there is only one, but I plan on adding a sleeping loft upstairs, as well as renovating the barn to allow for more guests to sleep over. We added crushed gravel from the local quarry to keep from tracking in dirt and mud. Eventually I plan to add lots of lavender, rosemary and other herbs that are grow locally to frame the entrance. This is the view from the front room out to the pastures…I love how there isn't a building in sight. The door has a shutter on the window which I can close tight when there's a storm, especially when the north wind blows, which is often.
The textiles are all original and made by my grandmother and great-grandmother. The fabric is called Chita de Alcobaca, a kind of chintz traditionally used by working class Portuguese families. Also, some creative handiwork made by my great-grandmother, most likely using old bits of scrap wool (possibly burel, an extremely warm and water-resistant wool felt) from worn out blankets and clothes. Nothing went to waste in those days and I admire her desire to create something decorative out of discarded material.
I couldn't believe how strange it felt to sleep without my dogs close by, so I brought along a ceramic one from my grandmother's house. I think he looks a lot like Finley, don't you?
In the original kitchen an old bread sack hangs on the door knob to take to the bakery, along with traditional cookware on the hearth. The header over the fireplace is still in good condition, but also needs to be refinished. The yellow door was the original one I modeled the front door after. It has a little mouse hole we covered up with a photo of a cat to ward off any masked-mouse marauders... And the stairs lead up to the attic/sleeping loft.
Then there is the original "shower" from my grandmother's house. It's really just a bucket with holes punched through for the water to drain. Exquisite simplicity. The windows will eventually need to be replaced as well, but for now the light coming through the bathroom window in the afternoon is perfect. You can also see the base of the vanity, made from the local limestone.
The lovely lady in the last photo is the daughter of the original owner of the cottage who came by for a visit one afternoon. She shared many fond memories of growing up in that house along with her siblings; a family of seven. She was happy to see it being restored and cared for, after sitting abandoned for so many years.
(I also included a photo of the electrician from the utility company, whose highly anticipated arrival was met with much relief because as we all know, these things can move very slowly in Portugal).
So there you have it. It's not much, but of you saw the first photos, then you know how much dirt and dust had to be swept out. Not to mention the cobwebs.
I mean there were sheep living in the house at one time.
Thanks for following along on this journey with me. Some of you have been reading about this little passion project for some time now, and I just want you to know I'm very grateful for your support!