An old chapel answered a few prayers

JCA Team:
Chris Lawler & James Curl
Project Design Team:
Johnston Cave Associates (Architects) 
Michael Edwards Associates
(Quantity Surveyor)
Andrew Waring Associates
(Structural Engineers)
(Interior Designer)
Principal contractor:
R. Moulding & Co (Salisbury) Ltd
Project type:
Extension & Refurbishment
Project year: 2014

Our clients’ property is an eclectic mix of various period styles ranging from Gothic to Arts & Crafts, Tudor to Georgian. 

To complicate matters further, a leat (an artificial watercourse) runs beside and under part of the house. It also has what once was a chapel that had been brought up from Dorset in pieces and reassembled on the entrance way to the house. 

Our client saw a better use for the chapel and wondered if it could be made into or incorporated into a new gatehouse with living accommodation.

Intriguingly, its south gable end contained a large stained glass window of historical note which we were able to integrate into a new extension connected to the main house via a library link. We were also able to retain the existing primary timber trusses and reused the lovely Purbeck stone roof slates. 

The end result provided a high-quality new build extension very much in keeping with the main property. It comprised of living accommodation at the first floor with a family room and utilities at ground floor. Additionally, we remodelled the existing main entrance to the house and existing staff cottages opposite, as well as refurbishing the main reception rooms. 

We also future proofed the gatehouse layout at the clients’ behest, by allowing the possibility of installing a lift at a later date – despite the complication of a wet underfloor heating system throughout the ground and first floors. 

The building project was further complicated by the fact that large and heavy loads needed for the build could not reach the site via the existing access road due to a bridge weight limit and then, the unseasonably wet weather through March 2014 caused some delay to groundworks. To top it all, the contractor had failed to record the original positions of the roof trusses during the demolition process. 

With obstacles overcome, the client decided that glorious new building deserved the formation and landscaping of a new courtyard, along with the existing driveway and crumbling retaining wall. We happily drew up plans for these and completed the project. Naturally this threw up further complications whereby new metric pre-fabricated flint block panels struggled to line up with the reclaimed Imperial size bricks in the retaining wall. 

Our clients may have said a few prayers over their chapel, but we were confident everything would work out as planned. And so it proved.