How we turned a Pigsty into "Our Retreat"
"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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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!)
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.