Office Site Visit to Complex Cottage Renovation

On a clear Spring morning, Freeland Rees Roberts’ employees were given the opportunity to visit one of the practice’s ongoing projects, a private dwelling in Suffolk. The project is a complete renovation and extension to an 18th Century timber frame cottage tripling the total floor area to 450m2.

During planning the local authorities were keen to maintain the cottage’s current size from street view, as a result of this much of the building’s massing extends outwards from the rear of the existing property. To support this expansion, the heating and hot water for the house are supplied by a ground source heat pump utilising four 150m deep borehole, whilst the use of materials such as Ziegel blocks, wood-fibre insulation and insulating lime render greatly improve the envelopes’ thermal performance. The addition of a new cellar to the building is designed to be thermally separate from the house providing stable low temperatures for wine storage.

To ensure the cottages’ original oak framework met modern standards a series of complex repairs were necessary. These repairs were then followed by treatment of the timber using Van Dyke crystals, with the aim of matching the new oak with the old. The junctures between the new and old oak are no more evident than on the magnificent bespoke stairwell, which when finished will be flooded in light from two central skylights. Nevertheless the highlight of the building is the westerly facing garden room which offers uninterrupted views of surrounding fields.

High quality traditional materials and detailing have been used throughout, with the contract carried out by FA Valiant and Son, specialists in conservation building.