Couple transform dilapidated 100-year-old cottage into unrecognisable dream home

Pat J. Fraley

Mark Cunningham and his partner Mark Strachan have completely renovated Mr Strachan’s late grandparents’ old stone cottage in Aberdeenshire had been passed down through the family for 40 years The 100-year-old house was dilapidated and badly in need of repair ( Image: Instagram/homewiththemarks) An old dilapidated stone cottage has been […]

Mark Cunningham and his partner Mark Strachan have completely renovated Mr Strachan’s late grandparents’ old stone cottage in Aberdeenshire had been passed down through the family for 40 years

The 100-year-old house was dilapidated and badly in need of repair
The 100-year-old house was dilapidated and badly in need of repair

An old dilapidated stone cottage has been renovated into a stunning new home by a couple who used their architecture and design skills to make it bright and modern.

Mark Cunningham moved into his partner Mark Strachan’s late grandparents’ old cottage with the two planning to convert it into the home of their dreams.

Mark, who studied architecture at university, and his home designer Mr Strachan embarked on an 18-month long renovation project in 2017.

The two transformed the cottage which had been split into different flats into a modern home that is ideal for a couple in their early 30s, reported the Daily Record.

The 100-year-old detached cottage in Aberdeenshire had been passed down through the family for 40 years. It was charming, albeit in an unchanged, dated sort of way with flowery carpets and brightly painted bedrooms.








Architect Mark Cunningham and his partner Mark Strachan, a designer, converted the house into a new stunning home
(

Image:

Instagram/homewiththemarks)



The couple, whose joint Instagram account @homewiththemarks is followed by almost 19,600 followers, have called their style “new old” as it is a mixture of new things with a nod to the old.

The stone-built century old cottage’s traditional exterior contrasts with the modern extension in the back and the moody, stylish interior within.

“I like that there’s a juxtaposition of old and new from outside – and also the exact same inside – I like that it’s not the kind of thing that people could expect,” said Mr Cunningham.

It was Mr Strachan’s father, a joiner, who did the majority of the work while the couple got their hands dirty with gutting the place and repainting whilst still working full time and living off site.








Mark Cunningham (r), who studied architecture, and his home designer fiancé, Mark Strachan, made the plans for their new home
(

Image:

Instagram/homewiththemarks)










The couple made changes to their home which they liked rather than renovating the property to sell
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Image:

Instagram/homewiththemarks)



Together with professionals who took care of electrics and plumbing, the team knocked down the place to its bare bones, doing away with its tiny kitchen, old bathrooms and even an outhouse in the back garden.

“We didn’t stick to this particular style that we thought would appeal to anybody else,” said Mark. “We just kind of went with what we wanted to do.”

The finished product is a home that was light, bright and more fitting for modern day living.

They knocked down walls and opening the place up to convert the home into one with one less bedroom, but with better entertaining spaces.








The couple see it as a long term project with more work to be done
(

Image:

Instagram/homewiththemarks)










Mark Strachan’s grandparents used to live at the home
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Image:

Instagram/homewiththemarks)



In total, they spent the same amount of money on the renovation as they did buying the house.

They retained original features like the fireplaces and an arch with cornicing in the hallway to lend character and giving the home the best of both worlds.

It now has an airy, open plan main room that encompasses the living room, kitchen and an informal seating area that sits beside the extension’s dramatic bifold doors leading out to another outdoor seating area.

For all the time it took, Mr Cunningham says the length of the project was the biggest challenge – the couple still view their home as an ongoing project even after moving in two years ago.




In fact, the two redid the dining room as a lockdown project. Next up is an en-suite and bedroom project this month.

Mixed with all their passion and creativity is deep nostalgia for the 100-year-old family home, which has another resident: their now one-year-old miniature dachshund called Chip.

For Mr Strachan, who lived here as a boy, it has been particularly special.

“He was brought up here. Like throughout his childhood, he lived here at one point for about a year when his mum and dad were building their own house,” said Mr Cunningham.








The home now has another resident – their one-year-old miniature dachshund called Chip
(

Image:

Instagram/homewiththemarks)



“So there’s just so many special memories that he has of the house and even still to this day, although it is completely different to what it was like when his granny and grandad had it, we still sometimes reminisce about when he was a kid then.”

What does the family think about the house?

Mark answers right away with a laugh: “We always joke his granny and grandad would probably be turning in their grave.

“But at the same time, I think that they will love the fact that we’ve taken on and we’ve made our own.”


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