Best Laid Plans – Channel 4
” An ambitious design it’s wonderful, I love it” – Charlie Luxton
We are regularly approached by clients to find solutions to challenging spaces, which is what makes them fun. This project was no different. Not only was it listed, thatched and sat comfortably in one of the most sought after High streets in the County, it also had that extra challenge of being on a steeply sloping site. The front elevation of the cottage is raised approximately a metre above the pavement level, with the rear garden rising a further two metres, before levelling out. The setting is beautiful, so much so, film crews are regularly found camped out along the street. We won’t spoil the plot and tell you who was murdered in the garden of this house … (in Midsomer Murders of course).
Understandably the clients fell in love with this cottage for its quirky charm, beautiful original features and fabulous 200ft garden. They always know it had potential but knowing where to start and how to achieve everything on their wish list for a family home, was another story.
Prior to the cottage being listed in the 1980’s, a single storey, slate roof outbuilding and UPVC conservatory was attached to the rear elevation, completely obscuring the original mix of stone, timber and brick infill panels to the rear façade. On approaching the original cottage, the first thing that strikes you is how difficult it was to find the front door. Your search takes you from the front street, round the side, up the slope to the rear garden before descending back down a precarious set of steps and through the outbuilding.
The original cottage accommodated two bedrooms, a bathroom, a single open plan living space and a small kitchen. As a family of five, with three children, the two older boys slept in the outbuilding. Our brief was to create a sense of arrival, this included a proper entrance hall, large family living space, larger kitchen, and two additional bedrooms. Most of all, the client wanted to view and access the 200ft long, tiered gardens from inside the property.
We worked closely with the local conservation team, who understandably, wanted to ensure that any additions to the property would not dominate, or obscure the original cottage. A more practical challenge was the rear garden being the same height as the underside of the thatch. This means there was no visual connection from the cottage to the beautiful rear gardens.
The design solution was to place the bedroom accommodation on the lower floor within the extension, and the living space on the upper level, so you can view the rear gardens. We have created the upper living space within a glass-ended tube. Looking at the house from the garden, you can see right through the contemporary extension, through to the stunning original cottage. The curvature of the new living space roof, sympathetically reflects the shape and form of the original thatched cottage. The new addition to the property blends in perfectly within its surroundings. It features rosemary roof tiles and crisp white rendered walls.
We were fortunate to have worked very closely with a number of local contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers on this project. Every element of this build was a challenge, from the ground works, the curved roof through to finding a window supplier to supply curved glazed units. Our main contractors TGC, took every challenging detail in their stride, the passion and attention to detail is evident wherever you look.