Our client wanted to rejuvinate her newly purchased Grade II listed house and transform it into a comfortable home.
We could understand why; there was certainly potential.
The house was originally two cottages and over the years these had been made into one house with various additions arranged around the outside.
It meant that strange things happened like the front door opening right onto the main staircase and the additions blocking all the light into the main rooms.
A complication was that somehow this mishmash had been listed Grade II.
The answer our client agreed, was to restore the kitchen to the heart and centre of the home and open things up to let the light back in.
The additions were rebuilt into more suitable structures using the same footprint and opened up with the removal of internal walls. It now meant that the kitchen could extend into them, the dining room attached to the kitchen and we used a new stone floor to interlink the spaces with a common material.
A big challenge was how to make the low cottage ceilings higher. The beams were structural and many contained steels (RSJ's to you and I) and so could not be removed or made thinner.
We correctly guessed that these beams were pragmatically made by fixing wood to the outsides, nailing plasterboard on top and then plastering the lot. It meant that while it was a quick fix to enclose the steels, much space was wasted. Simply by fixing the wood within the steel beams and using quality plywood instead of plasterboard, we were not only able to substantially reduce the beam sizes, but by machining mouldings into the plywood at the edges, we softened the beams and made them far less obtrusive and oppressive.
We also repositioned the front door to provide a hallway with stairs rather than the previous arrangement with stairs straight onto a front door.
Further modifications allowed for a substantially larger and more practical larder, a boot room, ground floor bathroom and storage.
Upstairs it was a matter of making things more comfortable, with new bathrooms and further refurbishments.
With careful work with the conservation officer and sensibly sticking to the existing building footprint, we were able to get all plans though and made our delightful client very happy in her bright new home.