Country living: top tips on renovating your period home in the Cotswolds

If the pandemic has left you yearning to swap your city flat for a period property in the Cotswolds, you're not alone. But before you make the move, there are some things you need to know that will make creating your dream home in the countryside run all the more smoothly...

A year on from the start of the pandemic, we have all been forced to question things about ourselves and how we live. Being locked down for the best part of a year has made some of us yearn for a change of scene – to have more space, fresh air, and be closer to nature. No wonder that houses in the countryside are being snapped up at a rate never seen before, especially in Gloucestershire, home of the Sunday Times 'Best Place to Live' top spot, Stroud

If you are one of the many wanting to take the plunge and swap city life for a new life in the country, the rewards can be huge. Period properties in the Cotswolds are stunning but don’t underestimate the amount of upkeep and renovation that may be required. If you do find your dream home in the Cotswolds, there will probably be work that needs to be done to make it into the family space you envisage. 

Finding a reliable Cotswolds builder in an area you don’t know can be challenging but at Property Conservation Co we have the experience and expertise to make your period property renovations run smoothly.

Here are our top tips on how to go about renovating a period property in the country:


1. Know the planning laws: what you can and can’t do to a Grade 2 listed building varies to what you can and can’t do to a period property that is unlisted. If you are considering buying a listed building in the Cotswolds, talk to the planning office about what may or may not be possible – and know that this also applies to any internal renovations. If your property is not listed, there are some building works you can do under permitted development which means you don’t need planning permission but again make sure you speak to an expert first.

2. Find the right architect: if you’re looking to turn a period property into a warm and vibrant home, then you need an architect who shares your vision. You might be concerned with sustainability and choice of materials or you may be wanting to create a wow statement with your new home – the architect you choose can influence these factors. 

3. Be flexible with your budget: with the best will in the world, renovating a period property is an expensive business. There are often unforeseen complications with period properties, for example, the structure of old buildings may need extra work, period materials can be twice the price of new materials and there may be issues with access to some country properties. All of these can create additional cost to your build. As a rule, plan your budget, but expect to spend up to a third or even half as much again.

4. Consider hiring a Project Manager: it’s important to understand that builders are not project managers. Having a project manager on site can make the world of difference to your build, especially if you are not always present. You can expect to pay a project manager around 10-15% of the build cost but the headache this will save you means it will be worth it. A project manager will take care of the big decisions such as timing and sequencing of the build, sourcing the different trades at the right time so the project runs smoothly, ensuring accuracy with measurements and fittings so money isn’t wasted having to rectify things, and generally having a bigger picture view of the build as it takes shape. 

5. Manage your expectations: things don’t always go to plan with a build on a period property but with the right team in place, you know everything will be taken care of. It’s worth doing your homework first to find a team of builders, architect and project manager who you know you can trust and who you will be able to work with long-term. At Property Conservation Co, we pride ourselves on being able to offer the whole package – our project managers can take care of everything, from the planning to the design, to the whole of the build. Customer satisfaction is at the heart of everything we do and a lot of our work comes from word of mouth referrals from happy clients. We are period property building specialists with an outstanding reputation for building work in the Cotswolds and London. 

Peter Little
Property Conservation Company Ltd