The Woodcutters Cottage, Bohinjska Bela

Client brief

Bohinjska Bela lies on the left bank of the Sava Bohinjka river, south-west of Bled. Susan Kibler and her Husband bought the cottage as a long term investment. Their plans are to renovate it and rent it out to the tourist trade and use it themselves when they come to Slovenia on holiday from the States. John is an avid fisherman and enjoys outdoor life. They both enjoy hiking and climbing and can now happily do this in their own back garden. Eventually, they would like to retire and move here.

 

About this project

This lovely 2 bedroom cottage was in need of complete modernization of all utilities and supplies, and of installation of insulation, heating and sewage. Basically gutting it! Save floors where we can. 

Working on a tight budget, we needed to get the best out of our money.  Susan wanted to have the house renovation broken up in two phases. First phase was to be executed now, while the second phase was to take place in a few years.

Susan's plans were to change the existing plan of the house so it would have a better flow to the existing layout. She wanted to have two toilets and one bathroom.

She wanted to to take out the old Slovenian heating system (petch - peč) and replace it with a wood burning fire.

As far as interior goes, Susan loves tartans and strip textiles. Colours were to be more primary and warm. No white, as she finds it too cold. on the other hand, she loves orange!

Bedroom curtains have to block out the daylight in the morning.

The furniture should be of darkish colour to hide any stains that might accrue during rental season.

Susan was not planning to come back to the site before renters, so the plan was also  to follow star guidelines and set the whole place up for rental markets.

We ended up taking down two walls and creating an open living space. We blew out one window and made it into a glass door in the dining area. This creates an outdoor deck and living space.

To save money, we transformed the ladder that lead to the loft area into a proper staircase.

We turned a closet into a toilet room.

I wanted to create a study area where Susan and John could work when they need to.

I wanted to give their little boy a place where he can relax and watch films. I also wanted to create a third "bedroom" for him. However, Susan was a bit concerned that he might get nervous sleeping down stairs when his parents’ room is upstairs. This is why, I created a sleeping nook next to their room. This area is used as an extra bedroom and TV room for kids. I installed a curtain that runs across the bed and used dark curtains for the window so the place would stay nice and dark.

 

 

Project gallery

 

Before & afters about this project

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after

We changed the layout of this space and added a new combination boiler. You cannot see this because of the angle, but we also added a built-in airing cupboard to accommodate the boilers and linens. The client loves mosaic tiles and darker colours and she was also into creating a bit of a rustic finish. I had a local carpenter make the basin stand out of old local oak as well as the airing cuboard. We also sunk the bathtub so it would not be such a climb to get in. While painting we kept to the original lines of the ceiling, which have a slight curve to them. We used local paraphernalia to decorate the walls and add a bit of character to the room. I love how we used the old hay rake as a towel rack!

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after

In the master bedroom, we took out the tiles "pec" and restored the original flooring. We also restored the existing windows, kept the interior walls light, and used the highlight colours in the furniture and textiles.

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Here, we had to insulate the entire upstairs area. We cladded the entire wall and the ceiling. I added some beams for more character as well as down lights. My client, who is a mother of a little boy, was concerned that he would not want to sleep in a downstairs bedroom as it was too far away from hers. I created this attic bed and added a curtain rail with curtains to this space, which can now also be used as a TV room for the children. The bed is designed to be a sofa as well. The photo is taken from a different angle, but you get the idea!

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after

In the living room, we took out the huge Slovenian "pec", which is not visible in this photo. We also took out the wall which separated the area from another small room. The client wanted to keep the window and its colour, so we matched all the colours to the existing window paint.

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after

Here you get the full view of the room.  We took out two walls and turned a window into a door. The floors have been replaced by pine flooring and stained a dark antic brown. We installed a sweet cherry red fire place that sits on a brushed black metal plate.  We had to take the chimney flue across the kitchen and outside the house. We designed the oak cladded beam to accommodate the pipes and took the opportunity to create atmospheric lighting over the breakfast bar. Again, you can see the "black" highlight colour used in the oversized above lighting.

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after

In these photos, you can see we took out a window and turned it into a door that leads out onto a new deck area. We also dug up the garden and levelled it, as well as placed down new turf for the most wonderful effect!

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We removed the doors leading into the room to allow for extra wall space and restored the built-in wooden cabinet, which stores the TV and media devices.

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after

In this kitchen, we took out a wall and installed IKEA kitchen furniture.

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I love the curtain rails in this room! I found them in the attic and had them restored to their original glory. They are such an interesting design and reflection on the house, a real treasure.  The floors have been replaced with an inexpensive pine flooring, stained a dark attic dark brown. My Client loves stripes, so I incorporated striped curtain that complimented the light colours on the wall. We kept many original aspects of the house, one of them being the windows. My client wanted to keep the existing windows and not change them or restore them. The colours we would use had to compliment the original design of these windows.

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after

In the outside patio area, we dug up and levelled the garden, and put down a new turf. We took out a window and put in a glass door. The outdoor living space was designed to compliment the house.

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after

This was originally more of an attic space. We insulated the walls and ceiling and put in a drop ceiling with down lights. We recovered some old beams from outside and put them as dividers along the ceiling. We rebuilt the railing and turned the ladder into stairs. The floors were restored to their original condition. This space was turned into a study/reading area. Some old wine boxes act as book shelves and the breath taking views of the mountains offer a wonderful distraction whilst working.

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after

In this room, we took down two walls. One that lead into the kitchen and the other one that lead into the living room.  We added a breakfast bar for extra storage and a prep area. We hid the chimney ducting by cladding in it oak panels and added a few down lights for an ambient effect.

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after

In this kitchen, we took down a wall and added a bar/work space. My client enjoys primary colours, so the room was painted in this warm cream egg yolk orange. Though the kitchen is from IKEA, we used accessories that add a nice finish.  You have to love the belfast sink in this space. My client also wanted a bit of fun "Bling" in an otherwise country style. I used these fun golden mosaic tiles on the back wall. I chose black as my highlight colour for this room.

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after

Once a closet, we turned this space into a single guest room toilet. Our carpenter made the basin stand out of the locally sourced wood. We used the same tiles as in the first bathroom.

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after

The kitchen; Here we took out a wall and totally remodelled with an IKEA kitchen.