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New life for old stone outhouse

A tiny crumbly 18th century marlstone outbuilding standing against the old boundary walls of an elegant grade II listed house in an Oxfordshire village had been neglected for many years, suffering from the many ailments common in old structures such as damp and inappropriate maintenance. In order to repair and bring the coach house back to life, a new use was found as a home for the client’s mother.

Following extensive consultation with the council’s conservation officer, a successful design approach was achieved, taking inspiration from the traditional glasshouses found in walled gardens. A new “garden room” was placed against the existing stone boundary wall with a front door created by re-using an old gate in the boundary wall between the new extension and original coach house structure, forming a lobby and connecting the new and old. The integrity of the coach house plan is preserved and remains readable internally.

This approach follows the SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) philosophy where the new design is clearly differentiated from the old and adds a new chapter to the narrative of the building.

High quality traditional complimentary materials are used for the garden room, including handmade red bricks, lime mortar, a zinc roof and bespoke timber joinery.

A technical understanding of the ways historic buildings perform dictated the thermal upgrade of the existing structure where breathable moisture permeable wood fibre insulation was specified.

Design collaboration with Nigel Greenhill