The challenge in renovation projects is to work not only within the boundaries set by the property itself and the client’s current situation, but also by their needs and plans for the next 10, 20 and 30 years.
We recently undertook the renovation of a beautiful Grade I listed Tudor mansion, and the brief included designing a practical yet beautiful suite for the clients’ elderly parents.
The main building is a wonderful example of a 16th century hall, which has undergone few substantial alterations over the years. In the 19th century, an extension was added to the main house with direct access to the main living areas and independent access to the garden. Although the rooms had previously been used for storage, they were a natural choice to transform into a spare bedroom and bathroom as they are all on one level.
WORKING WITH YOUR BUILDING
The clients were keen to retain the original layout of the rooms and respect the nature of the building. The original skirting, floorboards and fireplaces were carefully restored and reinstated. Unlike some of the narrow doorways in the main house, the doors in this extension are much wider, and could easily let a wheelchair or a walking frame through if needed.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MATERIAL FINISHES
Since using standard concrete in this historic property was not an option, a sustainable and breathable alternative called Limecrete was used instead. This provided excellent insulation to the floor, which, along with the dry lining on the walls, created warm and cosy rooms without needing additional radiators.
The walls and floors were painted in light colours to reflect as much natural light as possible.
Good quality pendant lights were also installed in both rooms to bring a warmer and more focused light, ideal for those with lessening eye-sight, while visually staying within the period style.
The rooms were furnished with simple cupboards and storage at eye level, keeping everything un-cluttered and accessible. Subtle but carefully designed adjustments were made, such as fitting the bathroom sink on a solid frame: it is both strong enough to be leaned upon, but also has space to fit a wheelchair under it.