THE GATE LODGE
In late spring this year Chisholme received a visit from a young American couple from Chicago. As with many before, they were both looking for their European roots. The young lady knew hers belonged in an old house on the estate. “My great grandmother was born here,” she said. “I am named after her. Her father was the gamekeeper.” It was a pleasure to walk with them up to the Gate Lodge – the gamekeeper’s cottage – so she could pay a visit.
On the way I explained that the building had been empty for some time and was not in the best repair, but that plans were in process to begin a complete renovation. We climbed the stairs and stood in the first small bedroom. “This could be where your great grandmother was born, and where she stayed,” I said. The mood of history being joined up between those days and the present was palpable. Perhaps some old ghosts stirred in the dust.
It was a delight to outline some of the plans for the repair, refurbishment, and conversion of the house. We walked into the master bedroom and bathroom added on a few years ago, so a sense of the new was also felt. We walked down the track together towards the Main House and said goodbye, as they continued on a walk through the garden to the lake. I hope they will come again and see the new iteration that will still contain her family history.
Recent news is that planning permission has been granted, and the same building contractor who performed the work on the Summerhouse here has already begun work. New drainage channels have now been dug, in particular along the front wall facing the drive. This is a vital first step, without which all future work could fail. Dampness in the walls has been a major problem ever since Chisholme was found in the early 70s, making the Gate Lodge a hard place to live in comfort.
The downstairs living room and kitchen have always lacked a sense of airiness and light, so the plans include a radical solution: the downstairs space will be converted into two bedrooms, with a new bathroom in what is now the hall from the entrance door. Since the addition has bedrooms on the ground floor, this arrangement will now be consistent throughout the house.
The upstairs will become a new open-plan space with a living room and kitchen. New dormer windows will be added at the back to provide light and a sense of expansion. The front of the house must remain substantially unchanged — the roof line and windows will not be altered. Only the front door will be closed off.
The aim of the overall plan, by the design consultant Hamid von Koten, is to allow for maximum flexibility of use, as the needs for it are shown. Internal doors will allow division of the space into two independent units, front and back, with a shared wheelchair compliant entrance. High standards of insulation will be installed and it is hoped to provide heating without fossil fuels.
You are always welcome to come whenever you can and to participate in all that Chisholme offers.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange your visit.