Monday, 29 November 2010

Two for the price of one

Our house actually consists of two separate buildings, which were in joint ownership for many years but only combined into one house in the 1920s.

This is the architect's drawing of the front of our house:

House front

It is a three storey house, built around 1690. It originally had a typical 17th century gabled front but was remodelled in 1812 when a flat front was added, with three sets of symmetrical sash windows. The windows on the ground floor were removed in the early 1980s and replaced with Queen Anne style bow windows - a style which is a century too early for the 19th century frontage.  These windows completely destroy the symmetry of the front elevation.

This is the architect's drawing of the back:

House rear

On the right can be seen the rear of the three storey house, which extends backwards to form a short L-shape. It has a 17th century gable end, containing the huge chimney for the inglenook fireplace on the ground floor.

On the left is a two storey building dating from around 1620. It was probably built as a stable but was later used as a workshop. At some point a one storey extension was added behind this building, incorporating an outside toilet. The bite out of the left hand side is where there used to be a stone staircase, which was moved into the house in 1975 to form the an internal spiral staircase.

The resulting building has a higgledy-piggledy internal layout and very few right angles:

Floor plan


1st Floor


2nd Floor


whilst the complexity of the roofline has to be seen to be believed:


Thursday, 25 November 2010

If I wanted to get there, I wouldn't start from here

There's an old joke about the man who asks for directions and is told "If I wanted to get there, I wouldn't start from here."

I mentioned it to our architect this afternoon, as we tried to make sense of the tangle of beams, supports and odd bits of wood which is currently holding up the roof over our staircase, and investigated the changing levels and voids of the staircase space.


How on earth she will turn all that into a workable new staircase design is beyond me, but I'm jolly glad we've hired a professional to take care of such headaches for us.

I hope the old joke won't be a metaphor for the project, which is an ambitious and exciting one. We're planning to do major restoration work on our home, which dates back to the 17th century and is a Grade II listed building. It was modernised in the 1970s, in a way which was unsympathetic to the building's character and damaging to its fabric, but fortunately almost all its period features survived.

Our plans include rebuilding part of the kitchen, replacing windows, removing rendering and pointing which is preventing the building from breathing, and turning two attic rooms into a new master bedroom suite.

This blog will record our progress as, hopefully, we "start from here" and do indeed "get there". We'd be delighted if you'd join us on the journey.