confesses she’s still taken aback by its size: “I still find it impossible to believe this was a barn. It didn't seem this big!” Upstairs are three of the five bedrooms, each with their own ensuite, including the master, which features a west-facing balcony to make the most of the views across the fields at the back. Due to following the line of the original barn, the roof has two different gradients, giving an unusual variation to the front facade. Beyond the junction where the roof begins its shallower gradient the space is not habitable but is ideal for storage, and has walk-in wardrobes leading through to smaller storage areas – one of which Susan has put to use as a home office. The front bedroom benefits from floor to ceiling windows, which make it a bright, sunny room. Originally the two wardrobes in the master bedroom were going to be bigger, but Richard decided they were unnecessarily large so requested they were made smaller, which caused a slight construction headache. “They had to knock the walls down and move them,” he explains.

Downstairs, the other two bedrooms and their ensuites sit on one side of the hall, while a snug and WC are on the other. At the back of the hall a door on the left leads through to the large dining/living/kitchen area and separate utility and boot rooms. Two different coloured cabinets feature in the kitchen, which the couple chose in order to break to space up, but the standout feature is the curved breakfast bar, which is covered by one large piece of quartz. “It took five men to bring it in!” recalls Richard. The living room, which features a modern woodburning stove, can be reached from either the kitchen/dining space or a door at the back of the hall. It was intentionally kept separate: “We wanted the doors to cut off the lounge so we can make it a cosy room on its own,” says Richard.

The house also incorporates some exposed timber beams and is contemporarily decorated and furnished. Susan took on the substantial task of the interior design and decorating, of which one of the most crucial jobs was choosing the tiles for each bathroom. “I made one mistake with some tiles,” she admits. “They’d been put up and I just didn’t like them, so he had to take them all up!”

The house is encircled by grass, which under the planning conditions the couple must leave untouched. “We can’t treat the land as a garden, we can’t plant anything,” says Richard. Various sliding doors across the back of the house open out onto this land.

The underfloor heating which warms the home works off an oil boiler, which also heats the hot water. They did consider both ground and air source, but the cost was “substantially more” and Richard was advised that the technology in this area is moving at such a pace it can be hard to keep up. However, should they want to switch further down the line their system can be easily connected.

After nearly two years of work, and just as Richard and Susan thought they were finally





Westcoast Windows (7012 Basalt Grey)




KITCHEN Stonehams

TILES Barge Tiles, Lingfield







BALCONIES Balconnette



going to be able to move in, a particularly heavy bout of rain caused the ground floor to flood. “They put the water pipe through a protective sleeve – some water got into it and therefore into the house,” explains Richard. “We mopped it all up but the grouting got quite badly stained so it had to be redone.”

Despite this last minute drama, in January this year the couple finally moved in, and they are very happy with the house – as are most of the locals. “Even the people that were against it now say it’s so much nicer to have an attractive home rather than a dilapidated barn,” says Richard. “I’m pleased with everything,” Susan adds. “It’s been superb!”

The final validation for the couple of their

house’s quality is the fact it has been nominated for a regional LABC Building Excellence award, which is the icing on the cake for their highly successful project. 

may/june 2018

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