As is often the way, it isn't until looking for something specific that you suddenly see it everywhere! When I began a project to find pebble-built and decorated buildings I thought the best examples would be found within the pebble bed heathland area...which would mean a bit of travelling further afield. However I've since noticed that pebbles have been used quite extensively in the construction of older buildings and walls around my home town of Seaton. Mind, there were gravel pits in the area in which pebbles were also found and extracted, as well as a pebble beach. So, it shouldn't really come as a surprise to find their usefulness as building materials here too.
What was a surprise however, was finding this amazing house. Taking my camera out for a walk around the town in order to look at walls (I might be a little strange but I'm not dangerous, honest!) I couldn't believe my luck when I came across it. What surprised me even more is that I must have walked by loads of times and never really noticed it before!
Originally called Parklands, Park Cottage is a delightful Cottage Orne style house, built sometime in the latter part of the 1800s or early 1900.
The photo above shows the wonderfully quirky gate and pebble-encrusted pillars of the front garden entrance. Below is the east elevation where a pebble facing has been used to create interesting shapes out of the plaster beneath. From the photo it looks a bit 'pebble-dash', but they really are quite large pebbles...or popples, which is the Devon colloquial name for them.
On my second tour past the house, after taking photos from all sides, the owner happened to be in the garden. I asked him if he knew anything about it's history and he very kindly showed me a book with photos and information about the house, and also allowed me to take some photos inside the garden.
I borrowed the book from the local library, which was interesting with it's 'before and after' pictures, but the info was of the family that originally lived there and not about the building itself.
Above, one of the photos I took in the garden, showing pebble-topped curly walls and pebble diamond shapes in the path. I love the diamond patterned bricks on the steps. We had a brick path like that in the garden of the house where I grew up, and it's quite rare to see them these days.
The boundary wall consists of local chert, also topped with pebbles.
I was surprised to find that Park Cottage isn't in the listed buildings register. The frontage, above, consists of two pitched gables above the upper storey windows, decorated with scalloped hung tiles, and decorative ridge tiles on the roof. A Cottage Orne veranda comprises part of the front entrance.
Above can be seen a view of the northern rear and west side. Below, a close-up of the western elevation, with it's pebble design.
And finally, another view of the quirky gate and fairytale pillars with the house in the background.
A few more photos can also be seen in the Photo Gallery album along with these.