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July 15, 2008


Jennie C.

Are you putting the thatching on over the regular roof?


Are the skylights going to work with the thatching?


That is so cool, Alice! I can't wait to see how it looks.


Anxiously awaiting the next installment!

Wendy in VA (now in MD)

I'm so excited for you! *Please* post pictures as it progresses.


Alice, I really look forward to photos of the finished roof, it all sounds lovely!


How very fun! Can't wait to see what it will look like.

Margaret in Minnesota

This is SO you, Alice--beautiful, fun, traditional...and British! (That'd be the Irish side of Great Britain, of course.)

My favorite line from this whole fun series-to-be is this one:

"We managed to find a man born and raised in the north of England and trained as a master thatcher."

So YOU! :)

Alice Gunther

LOL, Margaret, you have me pegged when you mention Ireland and the British Isles!

To answer a few questions:

Jennie, the regular roof gets torn off. Some people elect to go the whole nine yards and have exposed thatch on the interior. We will leave our interior as is, but the shingles all get torn off.

Cassidy, skylights do not work in this style of thatching (I asked for an Irish thatch), although the Dutch sometimes thatch around skylights. We solved the problem by removing the skylights so that thatch and beams may be seen through the two rectangles. If you had a step ladder, you could reach up and touch the thatch from the inside! It is quite an interesting look.

Thank you so much everyone for your kind comments and interest!



How neat! I incorporate family genealogy in the study of history. Since I am of Irish descent, I particularly enjoyed reading this. I will share this with my children as well. What a wonderful learning experience for everyone.

Cheryl M.


Alice, this is so interesting! I've been reading a bit online and the above link has much info if others are interested. I can't wait to see final pics - it should be very beautiful!

Since Katrina/Rita our area of the country has had so much turmoil with homeowners insurance - rates have risen so much because of the risk/damages, etc. I can't help but laugh and think of what Allstate would do to me next (and we had NO damage/claims - but still had major price increases for the same or less coverage) if we thatched our roof! :)

Cheryl M.

Alice, how very interesting - it should be very beautiful when it's completed. Here is a link to a site with much info and pictures. :)


Carole in Wales

Alice, how lovely! I see a few thatched roofs over here, but I am not certain that I have ever seen one at home. I cannot wait to see the pictures.


Totally cool Alice, and as with Margaret, so YOU :))) Love and hugs!

Mrs Pea

We grow reed where I live. Ours is the best, of course, and I have even been out with a master reedsman, cutting reed, years ago. Such a lovely sight - I can't wait to see your charming cottage!


How wonderful, I look forward to seeing updates. Your life is like a beautiful old book by Tasha Tudor or Kate Greenaway.


unbelievable...and yet so believable from you! i can't wait to see the end result!


This is so awesome, Alice, and SO COOL! What a beautiful sight it will be when you come down your road!!! People will feel transported to the "old country"!!


This is so awesome, Alice! You are living a fairy tale!

Practical question: Is there an increased risk of fire, say, from lightning? Do you have a lightning rod to deflect away from the house? Just curious. You can see I'm a "what if" person. ;)


Wow, you are getting a real, actul thatched roof. How excititng. I can not wait to see more. Clarice

Alice Gunther

Once again, thank you so much.

Kim asks an excellent question about fire risk. Because the thatch is so densely packed, in a fire it is more likely to smolder than burn. (The risk is about the same as with certain other roofing materials like cedar shakes.) We could opt to treat the roof with a flame retardant, but we haven't made a decision on that yet.


How neat! I will enjoy seeing the photos of the thatching process. My children will as well. :)

Our Magnum Opus

This is really lovely! I am so glad your sharing it here.

(My only guess for those bales was a paint ball war field, but thats not exactly your family is it. LOL)


How long does a thatched roof last before needing to be redone?

Alice Gunther

LOL, Bridget--my guess is they'd love a paintball war field!

Great question, Cay.

The thatcher comes to check on the roof once every two years, but a thatched roof can actually last seventy years or more. The scallops and work along the ridgepole at the very top of the roof need to be redone every ten to fifteen years.

Thanks, Rebecca and all.

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