Making sense of possibilities

JCA Team:
Chris Lawler, Peter Cave
Project Design Team:
Johnston Cave Associates (Architects)

Tom Stuart-Smith (Landscape Designer)

Project type:

New extension, repair & reordering

Project year: 2003

Our client’s house is a lovely brick and flint Grade II listed farmhouse with numerous outbuildings nestled in the rolling hills of south Oxfordshire.

They were looking for ‘overflow’ additional accommodation to the main house, a large family room, two additional bedrooms with bathrooms, office space and some secluded outdoor space.

There was plenty of scope, but it would require some imaginative design to make sense of the possibilities.

One possibility was to demolish an outbuilding or two and extend the farmhouse with a new brick and flint seamless extension.

Another was to embrace the farmhouse and its outbuildings and build something that worked for both; something that looked modern, but very much in keeping.

Our clients quickly agreed to the latter solution and with Listed Building consent and planning approval we set about replacing the existing 1900’s barn - which was close to collapse - with a new two story building very much in keeping with the ‘barn’ look of it and the other outbuildings.

We kept the open feel of a barn with generously proportioned sash windows, a large fireplace and connected it to the main house with a good sized hall in brick.

When building new, it is easy to get carried away with the possibilities of the new and forget a building’s setting.

As a firm we specialise in private house work and work to historic buildings. For most of our projects, these two aspects are combined. Over the years we have gained considerable expertise with the careful, sensitive design and construction of buildings in established settings, more than often combined with the alteration of listed buildings and landscapes. 

To this end, we included some careful detailing to the structure such as a lean-to addition, a bay, a skylight and a dormer window. These served not only to break up the boxy nature of a conventional barn, but made for a quirky and practical building - very much in keeping with the look of an established building and with the historical nature of the farmhouse.

Working with the landscape designer we incorporated a new glasshouse and pond into the general plan.

By the time we had finished repairing the fabric of the farmhouse, reordering spaces adding a staircase as well as demolishing a modern fireplace, you would never have known that the house hadn’t been designed that way from the start - new barn and all.