the project

This project is for the substantial upgrading of an existing farmhouse with outbuildings. The house has been added to over the years for various owners' requirements, resulting in a design that doesn't feel cohesive. There are many different levels and roof junctions, and the flow does not work for today's open-plan family living requirements.

The existing kitchen is in the centre of the house, in a north-facing position with no views, yet the prime spot in the house is greatly underutilised. The entrance also needs improvement. The client requested a new, grander and more obvious entrance which we agree will add considerable drama and excitement to the redesign.

How we worked

After considering the request of the client for full refurbishment within a budget, we agreed to prioritise areas which provided the biggest impact and drama. Our decision was that a new entrance hall was very important, so that anyone arriving could read the building correctly - the aim was to create a cohesive and impressive large home. The new entrance would also set up the interior flow more successfully, giving the whole house a much better feel right from the moment of entry.

The other equally important area is the new family space. Our suggestion was to remove old and unsightly roof junctions at the entrance hall and replace the area with a new roof. The new entrance hall will be light and airy with a wide concourse, and will link east and west wings. In its centre, we have designed a small tower to give the entrance and courtyard a much more significant presence.

The west wing, currently a garden room and stable, is the obvious location for a new family room. We originally suggested keeping the existing structure (it started life as an old byre). However, as is often the case, its narrow width would not allow the plan to work comfortably. We ultimately decided to demolish the byre and replace it with a new structure of a similar - but wider - size, which meant the plan flowed and worked far more successfully. This is a better decision both financially and aesthetically. It allows us to keep the integrity of the charm of an 'old barn', yet create a space fit for 21st-century open-plan family life.

The new structure features a wall of glass, enabling light to flood in. This will maximise a new connection with the garden and views beyond. Oak trusses are used to open up the roof space in this area, and a large central stone chimney breast creates a dramatic focal point.


Success of the project

This project is at planning stage. We envisage that the changes will make this farmhouse infinitely more pleasurable to inhabit, with an impressive entrance, great flow, and a key new living space with views over the garden and countryside.