A contemporary glazed extension to a Grade II Listed cottage
Our clients have lived in their Grade II Listed cottage in a small hamlet in Staffordshire for many years. The rural community is set in its own parish and is designated as a conservation area by Staffordshire County Council. The property is a typical modest early 19th century Grade II listed farmhouse consisting of two storeys. The house has a render finish to the brickwork and screened with high hedges between the neighbouring roads, properties and generous gardens surrounding the farmhouse.
Although the house gave the couple the style and character they love, the layout of the downstairs living space was awkward in size and shape, and did not allow them to easily entertain and enjoy their home with guests. To the side of the property there were several attached outbuildings which were accessible through the house. The outbuildings were beginning to become unfit for purpose due to leakages and they were generally inhabitable spaces and needed a suitable replacement.
The rooms are typical of a 19th Century farmhouse and they wanted to create additional space that was modern, light, easy to maintain, flexible and with level access to the garden. The couple had done a little research and were inspired to create a fully glazed contemporary single storey extension in the same location, to replace the existing kitchen and old outbuildings.
Their garden is private from neighbours, surrounding the house on all sides and is of a good size in its entirety with different outlooks of the countryside on each aspect. They wanted the new extension for the kitchen, dining and living space to address all aspects of the garden to be able to enjoy it day and night.
We were appointed by our clients to continue to the project after planning permission had been granted. At the outset of the project we had met with the couple to discuss their project aspirations, but after a difficult decision they initially chose to work with a large city-based practice to commence their project. However, as the project progressed, they soon realised that our team at Croft Architecture offered much more for a similar fee and they contacted us to ask if we could help them with their project.
We met with our clients to discuss the best route forward to progress their project. We were appointed to help them to design and project manage the alterations from Stage 4 of the RIBA Plan of Works through to completion and handover.
At this stage, the design needed to be developed further to prepare the technical drawings specification and schedule of works to be used to price the tender and construct the building.
We then invited local reliable contractors who are well known to us, who we knew would be suited to successfully complete the project as per the building contract. Tenders were returned from several builders and in conjunction with the client a good local building contractor was selected to carry out the works and we put in place and administered the building contract on the client’s behalf through to project completion and handover.
The dwelling is a Grade II Listed late Georgian style house within a conservation area, and it retains numerous original fittings both inside and out, including original double hung sash windows. We wanted to ensure that all aspects of the project remained sensitive and sympathetic to the locality of the site, and the existing buildings. Our team consulted with the local conservation officer from the outset of our appointment to set project on the right course.
Although the rebuilt and enlarged extensions are sympathetic in style, the conservation officer deemed that they are secondary in design and historically important to the main house and attached outbuildings are not considered to be of historic significance.
We extensively discussed the proposals to demolish the old single storey extensions and replace them with a very minimal, contemporary flat roof, glass walled extension. The planners and the conservation officer had no historic building objections to demolishing the late 20th century extensions nor to their replacement in a contemporary lightweight glazed design. They thought that the contrast between this new contemporary design and the more traditional historic building creates an effective and sympathetic complement, with only minor planning conditions to discharge.
We worked closely with our clients, the conservation office, planners and building control team to deliver a design that seamlessly flows from the old to new. It is simple in style but has a distinct modern contemporary appearance that clearly defines the historic appearance of the existing house, enhancing the whole. The extension is offset from the adjoining profile of the house, to the main elevation, ensuring it is sympathetic in scale and subservient to the form of the existing and creating a seamless transition from old to new. The couple wanted a space to be able to easily entertain guests and somewhere to relax together surrounded by their garden.
The combination of simple materials using floor to ceiling glazing with minimum steel contrasts with the historic aspects of the original house. The floor to ceiling glazed doors provide an abundance of natural light and provide the connection to the garden that was desired. Sliding all the doors back during the summer months allows the warm summer breeze to flow through cooling the space to create an ambient temperature. The new space has stayed shaded, cool, and not too bright. The flat roof provides an overhang for functionality, protecting the spaces from overheating during the summer months, whilst maintaining bright interior spaces by means of the glass walls.
The couple aspired for a 1960’s style split level living area away from the kitchen/ dining area to create a space to comfortably relax and enjoy the views of the garden day and night. Decorating using dark colours prevents glare and excess reflection during the evening from the internal lights meaning the garden can still be viewed on all aspects with suitably positioned outdoor lighting. The dark ceiling is effective during the day reducing the brightness and it makes the area perfect for star gazing without reflection of an evening even when the interior lights are on.
Our clients are thrilled with the works. The design has created a high-quality extension to their home that is sleek, spacious, flexible, and light. The clean lines of the extension respect the existing house and it sits comfortably within its surroundings. They now have an open plan space that unites their friends and family, whilst seamlessly connecting their home with the garden. They couldn’t be happier.