Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 5.26.22 PMFor the past twelve years I’ve been looking for a cottage in or near my parents’ village in the Peak District of Derbyshire, England. This morning at my home in New England, in America, I have just received this listing on, one of the UK’s top online property website.

My heart starts to race as soon as I see this first photograph of the outside of the cottage showing what’s called a “character cottage” (meaning with some history and original features).  But the question is, Will the rest of the property live up to it?

The next photo is clearly the sitting room.  The beams look original, but you don’t know for sure, though the low ceiling is typical of older cottages.  Otherwise, the room could use some substantial fixer-upping, but still, the “bones” appear to be good.

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The kitchen (below) also has beams–nice!–but there are only a few counters, a kitchen sink, and what appears to be a washing machine.  There’s no evidence of an oven, stove, fridge, dishwasher, or microwave.  Putting in a new kitchen will be a major additional cost that I must factor in.

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Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 5.27.20 PMThis photo appears to be of a room leading from the kitchen.  There’s a ledge on the right, which could either be what it appears to be–a ledge–or perhaps something more interesting, such as a mantle for a small fireplace hidden behind a wall.  The sunlight is coming through the window nicely, but the carpet looks worn, and it’s suspiciously dark over to the left.  The reason for the discoloration could be an indication of a major problem that could cost tens of thousands of pounds to fix, and make the cost of this cottage skyrocket.

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 5.27.33 PM This is the bathroom on the ground floor, and appears to be what is called in England “a wet room,” which basically means that it also serves as a shower area.  I stayed in a B&B with a room like this, and didn’t like it because when you took a shower, water got all over the floor.  Because the floor never dried properly, you were always getting your feet wet.

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 5.27.46 PMThis is the master bedroom, and it’s dingy in the extreme.  It appears to have at least two layers of vinyl on the floor (or else wide wooden boards–it’s impossible to tell from this photo), no base molding (called skirting boards here), but it does have a little fireplace.

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The upstairs bathroom is again rather odd, and appears very cramped.  The white triangle on the floor is actually the base of a shower, but there are no glass doors or curtains around it.  The window over the sink appears to not be to the outside, but perhaps to a corridor. Like the kitchen, this will be a major job of renovation.

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This is the second of the three bedrooms on the second floor (which in the UK is referred to as the first floor).  There’s another small fireplace, but this is a room that will clearly need more renovating.


And then three photographs that indicate a rather nice amount of lawn perhaps suitable for the garden I would love to have.

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So far, the cottage looks promising, but I’m not completely sold on it because the renovations will cost a great deal of money and time.

And then I see it.  What clinches it for me. Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 5.29.21 PM

Oh my God, this cottage has a barn!  So this property is not just a cottage, it’s a farmhouse with a barn!

And I, the American/British granddaughter of an English dairy farmer who farmed just three miles from here, have just found the cottage I’ve been dreaming about!