Although historic properties are always popular and sought after to live in, they do need to be maintained and updated if they are to continue to remain habitable and useful dwellings going forwards. Listed buildings present a particular challenge in this respect. Although the historical fabric and layout of a building needs to be respected and carefully considered at every stage of any development, it is possible to bring them up to modern thermal standards with insulation, draught-proofing and even updated energy saving heating systems. We have ‘modernised’ many such historic buildings in this way.
In the case of this Grade II listed house, the new owner wanted to make a number of improvements including the creation of a new kitchen-living-dining area. Existing bathrooms needed complete updating and further bathrooms were required to be created on the first floor. As such it was a good moment to also consider the general maintenance and essential upkeep of the historic fabric: cleaning of beams, the repair of minor structural defects, and in this case the removal of past sub-standard alterations.
An additional factor that had to be taken into consideration prior to any changes to the house was its prominent location opposite the church at the centre of the village. It was felt to be important not to compromise the setting of this prominent house within the village. The scheme kept alterations to the street frontage to a minimum.
The idea for the design of the kitchen-living-dining extension was to create a substantial addition to the rear of the existing house that would integrate well and complement the form of the existing house. The solution offers a single story pitched roof construction oriented at 90 degrees to that of the main two-storey house providing a large room with enough height to give a feeling of space and light while being lower than the existing house. The visually striking interior features an oak truss roof construction and has doors opening out directly to the garden which gives a feeling of space and is a welcome foil to the low-ceilinged rooms throughout the house generally.
This extension was constructed on the site of an earlier 20th century flat roofed extension. The new scheme dramatically improves the appearance of the house overall and particularly from the critically important front view of the house. It looks as if it has always been there. This bold scheme involved careful negotiations with the conservation officer due to the historic nature of the house and its special location. The result is a major improvement, not only making a very desirable change to the house and improving its core amenities, but removing a sub-standard 20th century extension and replacing it with a bright and open space that adds to the form and character of the existing.
Breckland District Council
Grade II, Completed
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