Ladera Cottage, Ozanköy
A Labour of Love
By Margaret Sheard
We were recently invited by Sue Ayre to see the cottage in Ozanköy which she has lovingly restored to a traditional Cypriot home and will be available for people who want to experience the traditional way of life for a holiday or even for others in North Cyprus who would like a break away from their normal home living style.
Sue comes from Surrey in England and has lived in Cyprus for 2½ years, she has a son and daughter who both attend the English School of Kyrenia. She saw the cottage earlier in the year which was in a very bad state but she could see beyond this and had a vision of how it could be restored so the cottage was bought at the end of March 2014 with work being started on 16th April.
We asked about the name Ladera Cottage and were told that this goes back to a holiday Sue spent in St Lucia many years ago and was the name of the hotel where she stayed. It was from there that Sue kept a vision of the garden and plunge pool and she has now re-created it in her property in Ozanköy.
The result is fantastic and Sue has restored the cottage to a traditional Cypriot house, an image from a picture book was my first impression. Steps lead up to the living area which consists of a sitting room, kitchen and bedroom. On the lower level, which was originally accessed by a spiral staircase and has now been replaced with traditional wooden stairs, there is a bathroom and the main bedroom containing a magnificent 4-poster bed. On looking around the house we were aware of the coolness inside probably a result of the extremely thick walls.
Sue has kept the traditional atmosphere with the furniture and many old style ornaments on typical Cypriot shelving. The kitchen is along modern lines but still has a charm all of its own with a nice oiled wooden worktop and very stylish ceramic Belfast sink, everything is in keeping with the rest of the house and has all of the equipment needed to make a stay there comfortable and convenient.
We entered the property by a garden gate and got our first glimpse of the garden area which Sue told us was completely overgrown when she first saw it, the transformation is wonderful and is now a lovely area, very private with a plunge pool and waterfall, a shady patio area, lots of potted plants and foliage around, a grapevine which is being carefully brought back to life and a backdrop of the cottage with its blue shutters and double stable door type entrance. It took my breath away seeing it for the first time. What an achievement in 3 months.
Of course Sue did not do the work personally although she knew exactly how she wanted the finished cottage to look and so she enlisted the help of Hasan Özersoy from Lapta who together with his son Derviş Ali Özersoy and his workmen including his “digger” Mehmet assisted in the restoration of the cottage and garden. The digging of the plunge pool was the work of Mehmet who actually dug out the pool area by hand and wheelbarrow, all to the cardboard prototype Sue had provided. I can’t imagine the hard work this involved but looking at the finished pool, with its underwater seating and colour changing lights, everyone who helped to create it should feel very proud. The waterfall into the pool is from a large terracotta pot and is such a lovely feature. Sue said wherever possible all items excavated from the garden or removed in the cottage were re-cycled so very little was wasted. While Mehmet was digging out the pool he hit large boulders and these have been used for the very effective rockery area of the water feature and around the garden area.
A new veranda area was constructed at the front of the cottage and from this a wrought iron spiral staircase has been installed which leads to the large roof terrace from where there are lovely views of the sea and mountains, a real sun-trap for those who want to go home with a beautiful Mediterranean suntan.
Hasan and his son Ali arrived whilst we were there and we spoke with Ali, who has excellent English and he told us he had graduated from the European University of Lefke in Horticultural Production and Marketing. He helps his father with his various building jobs and also does some gardening but his dream is to build a house on his family’s land in Lapta and have a large garden area with many flowers, shrubs and trees which would be open for people to visit and admire. Ali is hoping to visit Kew Gardens in England later in the year and to spend some time there as a volunteer to increase his horticultural knowledge.
We were so pleased to be able to see Ladera Cottage and take a step back in time. What a wonderful location in the heart of the village for a romantic holiday in traditional Cypriot style or a family holiday. Unfortunately, the cottage is not suitable for people with mobility problems or small children due to its quaint layout but other than that it is absolutely ideal for people who like to experience local culture and perhaps want to have a different type of holiday with a romantic atmosphere.
Sue can be contacted by telephoning on 00 90 533 869 3721 or by completing the contact form below the slideshow and you can read more of Ladera Cottage by clicking here and on Facebook by clicking here
See the slideshow below where there are more before and after pictures showing the mammoth task undertaken by Sue to achieve her dream of a typical Cypriot cottage.