Like so many farmhouses, this property has been developed and extended over time. A familiar pattern of piecemeal development and changes of varying standards usually carried out to make immediate improvements to the practicality of the house for drainage, heating and cooking.
The original house dates from the 1600s but it was completely remodelled in 1745. This included the addition of another floor and the rendering of the front elevation of the house. There were many other alterations in the years to come. Probably the largest was the 20th century construction of what became known as the ‘Northern range’ to the rear.
Grove House is a prominent and imposing three-storey Grade II listed farmhouse standing within the farm complex. It has a substantial walled garden to the north and an important large long barn located just to the South.
A comprehensive refurbishment and improvement of the whole house was required in order to rectify a number of long-term construction defects and improve both the thermal insulation and breathability of the house as well as to integrate some energy-saving sustainable technologies. The oil-fired heating system was replaced with a ground source heat pump and all the windows were upgraded with new Slimlite double glazing and trickle ventilation.
These timber windows have a virtually identical appearance to the existing but offer substantially improved thermal performance through our own sash window detail uniquely developed for this project which, as far as we know, has not been used before and is not currently available commercially. It features a number of ventilation slots within the sash casement which allow air to pass into the surrounding casement and then out into the room through another vent within the casement. Importantly, the detail is virtually invisible but allows trickle ventilation, as required by Building Regulations, to be achieved.
The cementacious render on the exterior frontage was removed and replaced with a natural lime render. Internally the cementacious plaster was also replaced, with a breathable natural lime render. Extensive works were required to stabilise the front facade which had separated from the house over the course of many years. A new under floor heating system was installed at ground floor and to much of the upper floors. The existing poor quality floor slab at ground floor was removed and a recycled glass insulated sub-base together with a breathable limecrete floor installed in its place.
Internal alterations provide en-suite bathroom accommodation and improved layout on all floors. A principal feature at ground floor is a new garden room that leads out from the kitchen. This parapeted design with flat skylights follows the form of an existing garden wall.
A project making as many changes as this one does inevitably involve extensive negotiation with the conservation officer, particularly in respect of the Grade II status. On balance the scheme ensured the retention and indeed preservation of enough of the original fabric to ensure that its historic integrity remained whilst improving and adapting the house for use going forward into the 21st century.
North Norfolk District Council
Grade II, Under construction
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