A feat of engineering and a steadfast determination turned this Grade II-listed, 18th-century gamekeeper’s cottage into a contemporary and tranquil haven nestled in the heart of the English countryside. Reminiscent of an Ibizan villa rather than a historical home in rural Cotswolds, the property is as breathtaking as it is secluded, blending seamlessly into the surrounding area. For Richard Found, it is a sanctuary away from the frantic pace of London, a place of creativity and solace, immersed in nature.
Lucy Siddall: Tell me the story of your Cotswolds home.
Richard Found: When we started looking for a home outside London, my wife subscribed to a Cotwolds local magazine, where I saw an advert for the plot of what is now our house. The accompanying photograph showed a long field falling away from the cottage, surrounded by trees, and I was enthralled. I made an appointment immediately and fell in love with the plot as soon as I saw it. The isolation and the privacy are quite intimate. The landscape around the house is incredible; the land undulates, rising and falling. It’s incredibly lush. And the lake at the foot of the garden fulfilled my requirements of being near water. I made an offer then and there and paid the deposit the next day. But it was a big job, not for the faint-hearted - I don’t think the gamekeeper’s cottage had been touched for 80 or 90 years. We bought the house in 2006 and spent our first night there in 2011.
LS: What structural changes or additions did you make?
RF: Getting the house through planning was a challenge! I had initially hoped to knock down the cottage, which would have been a crime, but after the sale, English Heritage spot listed the house, meaning it was untouchable. I took the call in my car and just froze. I thought I had wasted my entire life’s savings on a property I couldn’t develop. However, it became clear that the planners simply wanted the cottage to be the focal point of the house. We decided to build the extension behind the cottage and that the total square footage wouldn’t exceed the original outbuildings’ square footage. We were lucky the planners understood my rationale because I didn’t want to build a pastiche and extend the cottage in the same language. We did, however, source materials sympathetic to the original property, such as dry stone. To respect the main house, we excavated behind it into the hill, which presented a significant engineering challenge. But it worked, and now the cottage is the main feature. If you stand in the garden, you can see the cottage and the bedrooms or the cottage and the living room, but you never see the full extension.