Here is a little update on my Suffolk barn clients…
I have tried to capture a quick snapshot of all the hard work which has taken place over the last 4 weeks.
They had their Oakwrights frame delivered 4 weeks ago and are now in the closing stages of having this fully erected and thermally wrapped using the amazing Wrightwall Natural system…. in effect, a near watertight shell! Amazing to have such a large part of the build up and done in the space of a month.
You may remember this is the project we spent 7 years getting planning for so to say the clients are enjoying the speed of everything now is an understatement! And they managed to get rented accommodation right next to the plot which is perfect for day to day management.
concrete pump lorry
perimeter brickwork and sleeper walls going in ready for block and beam floor
block and beam floor
block and beam floor
final grouting done… we have a slab!
The Oakwrights frame and floor joists arrive
Oak frame going up
central frame going in
now we’re talking… proper way to build a house!
Topping out of the frame.. smiley clients and proud carpenters 🙂
frame ‘topped out’
now look… everyone is smiley 🙂
The main frame is really taking shape now and cart-lodge is up
Wright-Wall Natural encapsulation panels being craned into place
Check out the ‘wrapped’ building already. The horizontal battens provide fixing for plasterboard and also create a service void for electrics/plumbing
View looking down into hallway on left and ground floor vaulted master bedroom and en-suite to the right. Bedroom will be amazing!
Posi-joists installed. Note the web design allows easy routing of pipes and wires throughout
Encaspulation panels flying into place
arty night shot…
Hope you enjoyed the journey so far… lots more to come over the coming weeks.
We had a great end to the week last week when this scheme was approved!
This was once again a very ambitious proposal and ‘word on the street’ according to various local sources was that we didn’t stand a chance. Well, you know me by now…. if i hear something like that i am definitely gonna give it a crack and prove them wrong….
I met these clients only at the end of last year so the process has been pretty swift to be fair. The site itself is elevated facing the village green of a sleepy Buckinghamshire village, it has a Grade II listed house directly opposite and is within the Aylesbury Vale District Council Conservation Area. Now, AVDC do have a reputation for being pretty tough but i think this is a little unfair in my opinion. What i think they do have is high standards when it comes to the design and integration of new dwellings into established environments. Something they would expect even more so within a Conservation Area.
We did a good pre-application process with AVDC and worked closely with the planning officer and conservation officer and between us, we collectively shaped the scheme to ensure the clients are happy with with it as well as the council. We had a few concerns from neighbours and also the parish council, but again, with good communication flowing between everyone and the design decisions being made here, we got it spot on for everyone.
What we did ultimately achieve with this project is a two storey dwelling as a replacement to a bungalow which most people considered impossible, especially in such a sensitive location. How we got it is down to a number of reasons but one of the key factors was the the fact that both the planning officer and conservation got what we were doing and what i stand for as a house designer. They concluded within their reports that the removal of the existing bungalow and the construction of this new dwelling would present an opportunity to enhance the conservation area.
This is the existing dwelling on the site.
And this is the replacement dwelling all approved and ready to go…!
Massive congratulations to our lovely clients,.. i know they are going to be very happy in their new family home.
What an absolutely fantastic way to finish the week off! We have just secured planning permission for more clients in Suffolk and this one is a real beaut!!
Its a contemporary spin on a classic render and timbered Suffolk barn for a replacement dwelling which sits facing a village green.
The job had its moments and we had to overcome the newts that ‘may or may not have been there’ in the various ponds and moat that surround the site and either way, we have designed the scheme with our ‘newt lover’ hat on so the little critters will be fine..
Happy days though… the clients are over the moon and quite rightly so…
This is the existing dwelling which will shortly be introduced to ‘Mr JCB’ 🙂
This is the site layout showing the existing dwelling in red and the approved replacement in blue
And the approved scheme design….
Seems only 5 minutes ago we were working with these great clients from London.
They had decided to make the move to the countryside and head back towards Suffolk where they were born.
They secured a small cottage on a great countryside plot. When i say great, i mean great!! On a very quiet road out of the village, 360 degree open countryside views, a large garden with orchard and the nearest neighbour about a mile away… happy days right? Well, yes to be fair,… it was not looking bad at all although we had a planning battle ahead of us… something i never mind 😉
Their plans for the place were to radically extend the cottage up to more than 100% increase and add a 3-4 bay outbuilding with studio space above. We had all the local planning specialists saying it was never going to happen and we also had a knock back from the council during our pre-application work. However, we did work closely with the planning department and arrived at a solution whereby we could get the increase the clients were looking for but i just made it look a lot less.! 🙂 This was achieved by breaking the extensions up into various component elements and referencing them to local vernacular styles.
I had some photos sent through recently so decided to revisit the project looking back at my drawings and i have to say i am very pleased with it. The clients absolutely love it and i am planning to get up to see them soon for some finished shots to be taken.
Hope you enjoy
This was the original ground floor….
And this the extended ground floor
This was the original first floor
And this the extended first floor
A couple of before and after images of the front and rear elevations
and some photos from the client….
So,.. I had to squeeze a little job in today for some clients we met up at the recent Homebuilding and Renovating Show at the NEC.
They have recently secured planning permission for a new build in Essex. Nothing to do with me up until I met them at the show with Tim Crump and Dave Grey of Oakwrights.
Whilst the clients had got planning, they were not sure about the design and felt that something was missing. We had a good chat about things at the show and i directed them to various areas which needed adjustment or further exploration was needed as to find exactly what was missing.
THE APPROVED FRONT ELEVATION
THE APPROVED REAR ELEVATION
MY PROPOSED REWORK OF THE REAR ELEVATION
I have basically kept the profile and shape of the building as is approved so as to avoid the need to go back to planning but have then referenced some of the local Essex vernacular. The result, in my opinion, is so much better and and has a really cool Essex country house feel to it…. I love it anyway,… lets see what my clients say later.
Here is a little film we put together recently just to show what we get up to behind the scenes and how i approach the design and planning service for my clients. I hope you enjoy it… PJT
So i got reminiscing about my 30 years in this industry the other day with my parents and as always, i could rely on my old mum to say “i have got some photos, wait a minute”.. so off she goes and comes back first of all with this beauty!
Now, this picture i think would have been from around 1984-85 and finds me in the Potton drawing office as a fresh faced skinny thing with an equally skinny tie (probably leather but not the piano one!… Google these if you dont know what i mean) It really did make me realise that i have probably sat at a drawing board nearly every day ever since which is a lot of days and a lot of drawings… and yes, the haircut is very 80s’ hence the “mullet alert” but trust me, it was the fashion back then 🙂
This second picture transports us forwards into the early 90’s and everything has gone all sci-fi and the magazine piece talks about the brave new dawn of design and computers. Yes, that is me. I have gone all corporate and that fresh faced kid from the mid 80’s is still in there somewhere but the hair is sharp and the shirt even sharper…! Check out the retro 2 screen set up, monster tablet and keyboard. If you look in between the two monitors, these were hard plastic menus that you slotted into the tablet for each of the various commands. At the time this seemed amazing but now it just seems completely stone age. Great fun to find these though.
Finding these two pictures has come at a good time actually as interestingly i have had quite a few discussions with clients lately who love my drawing style and wondered what design package i use…? I told them that the design package is my hands, a ruler, pens, pencils and tracing paper and of course a drawing board. Most of them were gobsmacked and it made me realise how much i love doing what i do but more so how much i enjoy sharing it with others.
Ironically, the magazine article eloquently suggests that ‘The use of CAD is clearly the way forward. Many of the systems now available are cheap, powerful and simple to use. Only the drawing board manufacturers should be worried’ Well, i would counter that and say that as far as i am concerned with my clients, my ‘design package’ is the way forwards and when it comes to concept, design and planning work, you cannot beat the honesty and soul that a hand drawing produces and i am happy to be ‘long in the game’ (minus the mullet!) … 🙂
Last night, at a planning committee meeting held at Forest Heath Council in Suffolk, we received a unanimous 13 to 1 vote in favour for a new dwelling application set within a lovely Suffolk village. Great news of course…. What made this decision sweeter though? Well, basically, the application site sits outside of the village development boundary so there is a an immediate presumption against development. Furthermore, it is in contradiction to some elements of the local plan policy.
This was however not an overnight success.
I have been working with these great clients since 2007. We have a previous planning refusal behind us together with an appeal that went against us so it was not looking good. This was for a different design to the approved scheme which was larger and in a different location.
However, during the last couple of years, the planning landscape has changed drastically and with the publication of the NPPF in 2012 and the weight that this now carries when read against local plan policy, we thought there may be a way to secure a planning approval for our clients on this beautiful plot. There were also a number of other technical legalities that we had to overcome such as trees, the affect the proposal had on adjacent listed buildings, etc etc….
The application not only consisted of the right design on the plot but also we spec’d in a lot of renewables such as fully encapsulated air tight construction, recycled insulation, ground mounted solar panels, ground source heat pump and rainwater harvesting, all of which played a part in the approval.
With lots of hard work and strategic interpretation of various policies and guidelines we got it! This truly is a landmark approval for us and just goes to show that more often than not, there is a solution. This solution may take time and money, blood, sweat and tears but if you really want to do something then just keep following that dream and approach it in the right way, at the right time, with the right team.
I bet their coffee tastes good this morning…… 🙂
So i was out an about with my work experience placement James today at client meetings and i said we would go and visit one of my recent Cambridgeshire completions. As chance had it, the main man Tim Crump was there with his professional photographer to do a full shoot on the place. These clients are a particular favourite of mine and as always, its great to spend time with Tim because you cannot fail to feed off of his enthusiasm for what we do.
What is evident from this project and many others we are involved with is that it appears that when you hit your 70’s, you don’t roll over and think about playing bingo and making maximum use of your free bus pass,.. absolutely not,…. you build yourself a house!
And this profile of client are an absolute pleasure to work with as they have a huge amount of ideas for their new house based on years of experience and have a “lets get it done” attitude.
I am pictured here (on the right) with Tim and our clients and to meet them in their new Oakwrights home on such a beautiful day was the best thing i could ever hope for at the end of a project.