How we turned a Pigsty into "Our Retreat"

Source

The Pigsty

"Our Retreat" began life many years ago as a Pigsty (also known in the UK as a Pigscote). The Pigsty was a neglected out-building in our back garden when we first moved here 3 years ago. We renamed it "Our Retreat" after we restored it to our new little hideaway.

I’m not sure of the year it was built as there are several dates etched in the stone walls. The earliest date I can find is 1870.

Source

A Vision

Now, there is an air of secrecy about this little building. It isn’t visible from the front of our bungalow, which is our main home. Most of our garden is situated at the front and the side of our bungalow. Anyone walking around to the back of our property is in for a nice surprise when they see “Our Retreat” tucked away and overlooking a beautiful orchard.

Thankfully there was no sign of pigs when we moved here 3 years ago, they must have moved out a few years back. It had probably been used for storage for a long time and initially that’s what we used it for too. We had it filled up with all our junk in no time!

I kept looking at the Pigscote and thinking it seemed such a waste to only use it for storage. Maybe this little building had some potential; it just needed some imagination, a bit of attention and a budget!

This little project had my name written all over it and In no time at all I had a ‘vision’ and the work began!

But I am moving on too fast here, we need to back pedal to what the side of the Pigscote and the back garden looked like when we first moved in. There was just one small problem we had to deal with first, well it wasn’t small it was THE SHED in front of it. Now there is only one way to get rid of an unwanted shed and that’s to have a "Family Shed Demolition Party"...and we did!

Before - Shed in the way!
Before - Shed in the way! | Source
After family shed demolition party
After family shed demolition party | Source

Working To A Budget

Now the work could really begin.

We were working to a very tight budget, so we were looking for cheap and easy ideas wherever possible. There must have originally been a door at the side of the pigsty, but at some time it was blocked up. Instead of knocking it down and installing a new door, we put up interlocking panels to give the “illusion” of a wooden door and it fools everyone! This was probably one of my better money-saving ideas for this project.

The completion of our Retreat's new "door" and patio
The completion of our Retreat's new "door" and patio | Source

Looking around the interior at the dirty, dusty walls covered in cobwebs it was difficult not to think about what was lurking in the walls. Even now I shudder to think what had made its home there!

The original interior
The original interior | Source

The Restoration Work

At this point we recruited some professional help to repair the stone walls and then they were covered in plasterboard and plastered. Meanwhile, we wanted to retain the original beams and so we had them sanded down to remove the rough sides and then finally they were given a coat of linseed oil to bring out their natural colour and grain.

Walls restored and electricity installed
Walls restored and electricity installed | Source
Ready for a kitchenette
Ready for a kitchenette | Source

The Retreat Taking Shape

The electricity was installed, so now we had lights! We installed a fridge, and a stove with a real flame effect for a cosy look and feel. Finally we painted the ceiling and walls.

We installed a couple of kitchen units and tiled the walls for a kitchenette area. Now things were really taking shape! Even empty the pigsty had a welcoming feel to it. At last, the finishing touches.

The carpet was laid and the furniture moved in including a sofa bed, so that people could sleep in here. The sofa bed is proving to be a big success as most of our visitors love to sleep in the Retreat.

Also, there is no television. In fact there is little evidence of the 21stCentury at all, which suits me well (as some of you may have noticed in my previous hubs, I don’t think I belong there!)

Decoration of the interior, before and after
Decoration of the interior, before and after | Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
More Interior PicturesMore Interior Pictures
More Interior Pictures
More Interior Pictures | Source
More Interior Pictures
More Interior Pictures | Source
Front View Before and After: Once a Pigsty, Now "Our Retreat"
Front View Before and After: Once a Pigsty, Now "Our Retreat" | Source

The roof was finished with some abandoned roof tiles we found scattered about and hidden under bushes in the garden. Finally the door was replaced. My vision became reality. We were delighted with the end result; it was a lot of work but well worth it. Because it has the most wonderful peaceful atmosphere about it, inside and out, we decided to rename the pigsty "Our Retreat". I sit in my garden seat overlooking the orchard, with the occasional visitor, and relish in the luxury of peace and contentment.

A Pheasant Visits Us at "Our Retreat"
A Pheasant Visits Us at "Our Retreat" | Source

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Comments 66 comments

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Oh, oh, oh!!! What a wonderful treasure you had hidden behind the storage shed. You've done a beautiful job --and what a reward! So picturesque outdoors, and cozy inside. I could let myself get very jealous, but I'll just be happy for you. :)


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

How beautiful and useful your pigsty turned out! You have put in so much time and effort but it paid off big! I would love to have a retreat like this because old buildings have a certain charm that can´t be achieved in a new building. Great hub, the article and the photos makes it to a complete article that makes me want to do something similar. But I don’t have a pigsty! Thanks for sharing you great ideas?

Tina


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Beautiful and voted up! I love home improvement stories and pictures like that. How charming a retreat! Thanks for sharing that. I share some of your sentiment about not belonging in the 21st century. Great hub!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

How incredibly beautiful. You live in a beautiful area also.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

What a beautiful transformation, Movie Master! The Retreat looks so peaceful and attractive, and the outside area looks like a lovely place to sit, relax and observe nature!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi R.Talloni, that big ugly old shed was such an eyesore, we really enjoyed demolishing it!

We are so pleased with the result, well worth all the work!

Thank you for visiting and your comments, hope you have a lovely weekend.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Tina, I kept looking at the pigsty and thinking it had a certain charm about it, although it was dirty and full of creepy crawlies, and there was a lot of work to do, like you I just love old buildings.

It has a lovely relaxing atmosphere about it and we're really enjoying it inside and out!

Thank you for visiting and your comments, take care and enjoy the rest of your day.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Victoria, Our Retreat is like a step back in time, we're in our own little world here:-)

Thanks for dropping by and your comments, I really appreciate it, have a wonderful weekend and see you soon.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Hyphenbird, always nice to see you.

We are very fortunate to live here in an AONB, area of outstanding natural beauty, we love it!

Enjoy your weekend and see you soon.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Alicia, well I had a 'vision' and the transformation was exactly what I wanted to achieve!

It is lovely and peaceful in and out, I love sitting in my garden chair watching all the wildlife in the orchard.

Thank you for dropping by and your comments, take care and have a great weekend:-)


Dardia profile image

Dardia 5 years ago from Michigan

It's so nice and cozy looking. You have a guest house now. Let's hope any guests you have are not pigs! ;)


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

You did a great job, you had the vision to turn something ugly into something beautiful. I agree that old shed was an eyesore, and it was good that you kept the original features too. Now you have your lovely little retreat to sit and relax and enjoy. Thank you for sharing


writer20 profile image

writer20 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

Wow! you did your retreat so very well. I'm sure your visitors want to stay longer then they should....


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States

It's absolutely charming! How beautifully your hard work paid off. Congratulations!


SusieQ42 5 years ago

I love the stone buildings. I've got to get some photos of my mom's old smokehouse, built in 1869. You did a beautiful job restoring your pigsty! I love restoration projects. Thanks for the interesting hub and gorgeous photos.


jaykatt profile image

jaykatt 5 years ago from Covina, California

awesome job of restoration. looks like you identified the diamond amongst the slop!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Hi Movie master,

What a beautiful home you have ,and the work you have done on the pigsty is unbeleievable.Here's to sharing many more hubs with you.

Take care and I have to vote thia one up all the way.

Eiddwen.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Dardia, it is really warm, cosy and inviting and pigs are banned:-)

Thanks for dropping by and your comments, take care and enjoy your day.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Rosemay, my husband couldn't see my 'vision' initially at all, so it took some pursuading!

We are thrilled with the result and enjoying it!

Thanks for dropping by to visit, I have enjoyed sharing our retreat with you, best wishes.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi writer20, well we certainly seem to be getting more visitors these days!!

Thank you for visiting, you are always a most welcome visitor:-)

Enjoy your day and see you soon.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Dirt Farmer, it's good to see you.

It was a lot of hard work, but so satisfying and rewarding, we get a great deal of pleasure from it inside and out.

Thanks for visiting and your comments, hope you have a wonderful day.


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

Movie Master! Your retreat is beautiful! You have given me some ideas to work with. Congratulations on your great work and wonderful retreat!


Tom Koecke profile image

Tom Koecke 5 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

What a beautiful transformation! I can definitely see why you and your guests enjoy it! I wouldn't mind a stay in it if I were ever to make it to that side of the pond, providing the banishment of pigs is only literal!


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

MM: You sure did put in a tremendous amount of work in this project! It must be the perfect place to unwind, a place where you can get inspiration to write more great hubs.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Susie, yes I think old stone buildings have a certain charm about them, I hope we get to see some photos of your Mum's old smokehouse.

Thank you so much for dropping by and your comments, enjoy the rest of your weekend, and see you soon.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Jaykatt, nice to see you, I loved your comment:-)

The restoration was a great project, we really enjoyed it.

Thanks for dropping by and your comments, I appreciate it, take care.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Eiddwen, it's good to see you I hope all is well with you.

Many thanks for dropping by,I have enjoyed sharing the pigsty project with you.

Take care and see you soon.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Dex, I hope all is well with you.

The pigsty was the first restoration project we have ever attempted, nobody was more surprised than us at what we managed to achieve!!

If you intend on starting a new project, I hope there will be a future hub to share with us!

Take care Dex and see you soon.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Tom, it's good to see you.

There isn't a pig in sight - and that's the way it's going to stay!!

Maybe we should have called it 'hubbers retreat' :-)

Many thanks for dropping by and your comments, hope you have a good week, take care.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Cloverleaf, it was a lot of work, we could have done with an extra pair of hands:-)

I do write a lot of my hubs there, it's a lovely peaceful atmosphere to work in, quite inspiring!

Take care and enjoy the rest of your weekendx


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

What a Wonderful Retreat and worth the work Movie Master that you have put into it...I Love the Pictures...they say a 1,000 words of Love and Home Retreat Home!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

What a great job, and design. I'm very impressed.

Up and awesome.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi b.Malin, it was a lot of work but very satisfying, now we can just enjoy it!

Many thanks for dropping by, glad you enjoyed it, take care and have a great day.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Will, the restoration project was quite a challenge on a tight budget, but I was determined to make my vision a reality, and we did, boy was that satisfying!

Many thanks for dropping by Will, good to see you, thanks for voting up, take care.


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Oh Movie master what a charming retreat...I love old structures and this one was so unique. You did an awesome job.....Just beautiful..

Hugs,

Sunnie


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Sunnie, we retreat into our own little world here, we are very fortunate.

Many thanks for visiting, a shame it can only be a cyber visit:-)

You could cool off a bit over here, I hope you aren't suffering too much in that Texas heat!

Take care and see you soon.


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Oh I wish i could come for a real visit..it is just beautiful there...See you soon. Hugs


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Sunnie, I have just come from your hub, so funny!

You never know, maybe one day you will, and you would be most welcome.

'Hugs' back to you:-)


CSHandyman profile image

CSHandyman 5 years ago from Jacksonville Florida

Wonderful little retreat! I am glad to see someone restore history rather than just tear it down! Great job! www.cshandymansvc.com


carriethomson profile image

carriethomson 5 years ago from United Kingdom

simply awesome the way you have transformed it. voted up and beautiful right away!

carrie


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi CSH, we enjoyed restoring this lovely old building, so it's going to be around for quite a while!

Many thanks for reading and commenting.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Carrie, we still enjoy looking at the before and after photos, and we say 'we did that!!!'

Many thanks for visiting, your great comments and voting up, have a great day.


texasgirlfw profile image

texasgirlfw 5 years ago

Such an acomplishment. I hope you enjoy it.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi texasgirl, we are certainly pleased with the end result and now we are just going to enjoy it:-)

Thank you for dropping by and your comment I appreciate it, best wishes.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA

You did a good job with remodeling your house. Love the patio with all the yellow flowers.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi SweetiePie, we were really pleased with the end result, well worth all the hard work!

The begonias on the patio have been lovely this year, next year I intend to plant lots more containers.

Many thanks for visiting the Retreat and your comments, hope you have a wonderful day and see you soon.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

How charming! I love everything about it. That patio seems like a perfect place to enjoy some coffee and a good book. :)


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

Wow...a retreat made with your own hands is such a special place.

charming indeed!


A.CreativeThinker 5 years ago

That is such a lovely cozy place and you have done a wonderful job of renovating it! Nice to use as a studio or peaceful get-away. Love the photos too.

Great hub. :)

Regards,

A.CreativeThinker


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Om, the garden seat on the patio is my favourite place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and relax:-)

Thank you for visiting the Retreat, and your comments it was nice to see you, take care.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Ruchira, thank you for visiting the Retreat, glad you enjoyed it.

We are very proud of our achivement, I think we quite surprised ourselves:-)

Thank you for the follow, take care and I look forward to sharing many hubs with you.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi A.Creative Thinker, yes it is lovely and cosy with a wonderful peaceful atmosphere, all our visitors love it!

Thanks for visiting and your comments, glad you enjoyed it, take care and see you soon.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 5 years ago from America

Oh my, I love your retreat. You did a great job. Such a nice hub a good job on that. I voted up.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi moonlake, thank you for dropping by to visit our Retreat, glad you enjoyed it and many thanks for voting up, I really appreciate it, take care and enjoy your day:-)


AllSuretyBonds profile image

AllSuretyBonds 5 years ago

After reading your hub I want to go vacation in a little cottage and relax somewhere beautiful. I admire how you did not put a television in the Retreat. I think that helps people feel like they can escape the busy world and relax. Beautiful.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

ASB, thank you for visiting the Retreat, glad you enjoyed the experience, time stands still here!

And thank you for your comments, take care and enjoy your day.


lbramos profile image

lbramos 5 years ago from Porto, Portugal

Nice Hub, and Congrats on the work, the end result is amazing :)

Sometimes we really don't take full advantage of what we have, and with good ideas and will to work, we can accomplish great things!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Ibramos, thanks for visiting the Retreat, it's good to see you.

The project was pretty daunting initially -

Now we can just enjoy the result, it's very rewarding:-)

Thank you for your comments and follow, and I will be over to yours for a visit shortly.


iZeko profile image

iZeko 5 years ago

I love what you did with the place! And the door illusion idea is just awesome! Very creative!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi iZeko, thanks I was chuffed to bits with the door idea!!, many thanks for visiting our Retreat, glad you enjoyed your visit,take care and see you soon.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

Movie Master, who would have thought a pigsty could be turned into such a beautiful retreat. You did a wonderful job. Loved the pictures. Up and awesome.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi KKG, we were amazed by the transformation ourselves, it was very rewarding work!

Thank you for dropping by the retreat, your lovely comments and voting up. Take care.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

What a great retreat and guest house. You have such a wonderful imagination.

I also love the sequence of photos which showed just how much work you did to transform the pigsty into an amazing retreat.

Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hello Happyboomernurse, it was a great project, challenging but so rewarding, we are delighted with the end result!

Thank you for visiting, your comments and votes it's much appreciated, best wishes MM


Bertamelie 4 years ago

Hi Movie Master, We moved to our old house in Wales just over a year ago and we too have a lovely old stone and slate pigsty which I am very keen to restore and give a new lease of life. 'Our Retreat' is so inspiring and the result of your work is truly beautiful. I would be most grateful if you would let me know the internal dimensions of the pigsty before you started work so I can make some sort of comparison and find out what I can/can't achieve. Voted up.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Bertamelie, thank you for visiting.

The internal dimensions of our 'pigscote' is 24ft x 10ft

Good luck with the work, I am sure you will find it worthwhile!

Many thanks for your comments and votes.

Best wishes Lesley

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