Extension to Smithy cottage

 This project required a phased response. Initially the existing cottage was to undergo a scheme of wholesale refurbishment and modernisation in order for the clients to move in from their temporary rented home. Some of the rooms needed to be easily changed over once an extension was designed, approved and built; for instance the temporary kitchen is now the utility room.

Our brief was to create a large extension which would accommodate the main living spaces, master bedroom and a guest suite. The principle behind the concept was to orientate the structure to maximise the views over the adjacent Ogston Reservoir and surrounding woodland. This resulted in a modern, juxtaposed form, which contrasts with the original traditional stone cottage.

Our clients had been inspired by several elements of design from travelling and were keen to incorporate many such as ‘hit & miss’ timber cladding. To date, the house hasn’t generated a single energy bill after being fitted with Air Source Heat Pumps and Solar PV arrays on the roof. When the sun is shining, they are often in credit and receiving a return from the National Grid.

House in the woods

 Our client’s purchased this 1950’s property for its setting despite their dislike for the house itself! We worked with them to develop a scheme involving substantial extensions and structural alterations as well as landscape interventions. The side extension houses a generous, top-lit, open-plan kitchen and dining area whilst the rear extension provides a comfortable master bedroom suite with a private rooftop terrace overlooking the woodland setting that originally ‘sealed the deal’!

External Terrace

 This small project makes a big impact! This property has access to particularly impressive vistas but, frustratingly, the former arrangement didn’t allow our client to enjoy the setting fully. We devised a scheme to alter and extend the existing, narrow, raised patio with a circular layout forming an external dining area.
The cylindrical form is wrapped in larch to sympathetically contrast with stonework which features heavily in the original building. A helical stone staircase, beautifully built by H.A Briddon of Tansley, leads to an external lower terrace providing further entertaining space for maximum enjoyment of the gardens and wider landscape.

Sydnope Stand

 It’s not every day we get asked to design an extension to a castle!!!! Pre-application discussions with planning and conservation officers proved lengthy given that the former hunting lodge is within the original curtilage of the listed Sydnope Hall.

The modern extension is cut into the sloping site and appears subservient to the host building. The verticality of the façade treatment reflects the dense woodland surrounding the extension and views out of the living and bedroom spaces give the feeling of being in the tree canopy. A feature plywood wall brings the woodland inside.

Camping pod

 We call it the 'Jabba'! It is a partially pre-fabricated, modular building which is being let out on an existing campsite in the Peak District.

The design allows the building to be assembled quickly and relatively easily, and the size can be reduced or increased to suit a variety of purposes such as a garden office/studio, a bird hide or an outdoor classroom.

The 'Jabba' is clad in rough sawn larch but many other materials could be used including slate, wriggly tin etc.

Affordable, Zero carbon housing

 Having completed our experimental low energy BASF house at Nottingham University we were asked by the Peak District Rural Housing Association to design 8 zero carbon, affordable homes in the Peak District National Park.

The sensitive location meant we were not able to use some of the low cost industrial building products we specified for the BASF house. We did, however, apply the same passive design principles however.

We suggested a linear development in keeping with the venacular tradition of the historic village centre. This created houses with a north/south aspect. The north, and more visible elevations were simple with traditional detailing, whereas the southern elevations were fully glazed. Trees were planned along the southern boundary for screening and to provide shade from the low level winter sun. The land to the north was to be a community orchard.

We worked with Ian Ward as a consultant to achieve a scheme which would achieve level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Overall we were happy with the design, although, given a freer reign, we would have adopted a more contemporary approach to the northern elevations!

There was a great deal of support for the proposal, both because of its sustainability, and because it provided much needed affordable homes for local people.

There was unfortunately a small group of very vocal local people who were opposed to the development. They incorrectly, claimed that the site was a former village green. This involved the Housing Association in a costly legal process which despite being successful in seeing off the claim, ultimately meant that the scheme could not go ahead as planned.

Hallcliffe House

Hallcliffe House is a Grade 2 listed building in Parwich, Derbyshire.

When our client’s bought the house it was in poor condition and in need of complete renovation.

We put together a project plan which involved the early selection of a builder to start urgent repair work which did not need Listed Building Consent giving us breathing space to come up with a design proposal for alterations both internally and externally and to address the need to improve the house’s energy efficiency.

At the same time costs were constantly being evaluated to keep a track on the projected final budget whilst work was progressing on site.

This approach was not our normal one, but was necessary to avoid the building deteriorating further and in order to meet our client’s timeframe.

We obtained Listed Building Consent for the work and full Building Regulation approval, negotiating compromises when conflicts occurred. These mainly centred on the requirement to retain historic fabric and at the same time improve the buildings thermal performance. This was achieved by installing a biomass boiler and under-floor heating as well as adding roof insulation. Double glazing was not acceptable to the Planning Authority and tightly fitting folding shutters were fitted which created an attractive alternative.

The building is now a comfortable modern home with its historic fabric legible and restored but with the benefit of light, warmth and a much better relationship to the original formal garden.

Litton Infants School

The head teacher was working from a cupboard when we first visited the school! An extension had been ruled out as too expensive and unlikely to gain approval as the building was grade II listed.

We suggested creating a gallery in the hall which could serve as an office, but would also create useful space below, for smaller group work with a different ambience to the feel of the main open hall.

There was barely room to accommodate the gallery so the depth of the structure was critical. The solution we developed was to create built in desk and storage space to the front and back of the galley which acted as a lattice truss and avoided the need for any additional structure.

This approach also meant that the connection to the listed building was minimal - a series of stainless steel bolts and this overcame the concerns of the conservation officer. The gallery was designed as a series of timber sections, all bolted together, which could be manufactured off site in a joinery workshop. This meant we were able to complete the work on site during the school holidays with no disruption to the children’s use of their hall.