“Steve’s attitude is very much if there is a problem let’s find a solution to it. The whole project was enormous fun and we feel that we made some good friends along the way.”
JL – London
What was the Client Brief?
Our clients, a retired couple from the UK, were keen to find a second home which they could use throughout the year. They also wanted space for family and friends to visit and were particularly interested in an historic property, with traditional features, set in the countryside but close to interesting local towns.
What is the history of the Property?
Although there wasn’t an exact date on the property, it had clearly been part of a much grander house at one time and its origins were definitely medieval. Over the years the property had been used for various purposes, most recently as a school, so our clients were surprised – and delighted – when we uncovered features like frescoes hidden under layers of paint, rare stone-slab ceilings, antique flooring and fireplaces, original doors, sinks and even a private chapel.
Designing the interior we focused on creating an adaptable space which would work as a cosy home in winter and transform into a light and airy estate house during the warmer summer months. It was also important that elements like the beautiful infinity pool we designed integrated easily with the period of the property. Wherever possible we restored original features, right down to painstakingly revealing the property’s historic frescoes and wonderful old floors. And throughout we made extensive use of reclaimed building materials, again to reflect the age and history of the estate.
What challenges did we need to overcome?
The main hurdle was redesigning the property into a warm and comfortable family home while still retaining its original character. We also overcame the issue of the house’s size by constructing a three-storey staircase inside the property’s old drying tower to convert it into living accommodation. And outside, we were tasked with working out how our client would manage the estate’s 55 hectares of land: we found a local farmer to look after it at no cost
What were the project Timescales?
The planning process took two months, the redesign, construction and interior design in the main house was a further 15 months and an additional three months covered the design and build of the annexe and the property’s garage. So from start to finish the entire project lasted just under two years.