A contemporary style in a Country House

JCA Team:
Director - Peter Cave 
Architects - Ann Bessey & Nigel Hammett 
Technician - Adrian Dadswell
Project Design Team:
Johnston Cave Associates 
Principal contractor: Campbells
Project type:
Extension to substantial country house
Location:
Oxfordshire
Project year: 2005

A house needs to keep up with the times if it is to remain a comfortable home.

The Conservation Architect’s art is to marry modern needs to a well-loved structure. A structure that more often that not – if it has any architectural merit – will be under the regulatory authority of the Local Authority as well as English Heritage and other conservation authorities.

Knowing how to navigate this potential minefield is another art in itself and draws upon not just experience of what is likely to gain approval, but also on how best to present the architectural proposal.

Although our client was the owner of a substantial Country House, it lacked a separate bathroom and dressing room to the principal bedroom on the first floor and a proper guest suite and a media room on the ground floor. 

Our task then was to design an extension that would meet the practical requirements of the brief and please the client, but one that would enhance the original exterior and also gain Listed Building and Planning Consent. 

Our solution was to design a formal extension to match the existing structure and then to equip the interior with the latest modern infrastructure and reconcile the two with a light-filled contemporary interior and the use of modern timber painted panelling and joinery details. 

The result was so successful that we were asked to perform the same magic on our clients’ London apartment proving that with the right eye, contemporary can work in a country setting as well as an urban one and allow an old house to keep up with the times.