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This old property which is a former farmhouse is located in an isolated position near Yeovil in Somerset. The property is complex and interpreting its development was difficult. An investigation concluded that there has been at least three principle phases of development starting in the mid 16th Century with an Open Hall (the remaining part of which comprises the westerly part of the front of the house). The easterly part was rebuilt in the early 17th century and comprises the hallway and living room. In the late 17th century the northern wing was added incorporating the semi-underground cellar probably for beer storage; a feature rarely found in Somerset farmhouses as cider making (which predominated in the area) required cellars above ground. The room above may have been the brewhouse. Further additions in the 18th century were made for use in connection with dairying and perhaps cheesemaking.

The house is a Grade II listed building, the main part of which is aligned east-west with the principal elevation facing south. The property is two storey and constructed in local stone with hamstone dressings. On the principal south facing elevation the ground floor windows have oak ovolo moulded mullions, and the first floor windows have stone mullions. The main roof is covered with double Roman clay tiles with coped gables at either end. Roofs on the additions to the rear have plan clay tiles. Despite the fact that the previous owners allowed the property to fall into a significant state of disrepair, the new owners were living in the house and seeking to repair and refurbish the whole property, as well as make some alterations to provide an additional bedroom and replace the porch on the front elevation.

The new owners commissioned Oriel Architecture to investigate the potential of the property to accommodate their requirements in a way that would be sympathetic to the historic fabric and with the least disruption to any historic features. After a thorough survey and examination of the property, and consideration of its historic and architectural interest, Listed Building and Householder Planning Applications for the following elements were submitted, and subsequently approved:

  1. The replacement of the porch on the front/south elevation with a larger stone built porch and a pitched clay tiled roof. It was carefully designed to avoid and expose the stone hood over the door which was obscured.
  2. The conversion of a loft space to the rear of the house to provide an additional bedroom and bathroom. This involved the replacement of the existing modern roof timbers, relaying the existing double roman tiles, and the insertion of conservation roof lights.
  3. The installation of a new door and window within existing openings to serve the new bedroom and the dining room on the ground floor, together with a new metal outside staircase to the new bedroom door.
  4. The removal of the existing inadequate internal staircase and the installation of a new staircase and landing to access both the new and existing bedrooms.
  5. The construction of a dormer to the rear of the house to provide sufficient headroom over the new staircase.

The only point of concern raised by the Conservation Officer was the impact of the new stair on a timber step of an old staircase rising from the hall close to/under the existing staircase. Originally it was proposed to remove this timber step, but as it was identified as being of some historic importance, the new stair and hall layout was re-designed so that it could remain in-situ.

The building was in need of significant repair and refurbishment in order to maintain it as a viable residential property in the long term, and to ensure that the historic and special architectural importance of the listed building was preserved and enhanced. The careful design of the proposed alterations, whilst re-arranging the internal layout to improve circulation, had very little impact on the historic fabric of the listed building. The new external alterations for the conversion were confined to the later addition at the rear and had no visible impact on the front and most historically significant part of the property. The design of the proposals, and materials used, reflect and compliment this interesting and complex listed building and will assist in preserving and enhancing it for future generations.

Paul Ferdinand was recommended to us to carry out detailed drawings of our newly acquired listed farmhouse. He did this very professionally and accurately, and structural engineers and historians alike have commented on the quality and attention to detail of his work. He takes a genuine interest in his work, communicates well, and listens and responds to client needs. Following this initial work, we instructed Paul to prepare plans for the conversion of an attached hay barn into a much-needed family bathroom, dining room and bedroom. The plans were very carefully considered, as there were many obstacles to overcome as well as meeting the stringent requirements of being a Grade 2 Listed Building. The subsequent building regs drawings were approved with NO amendments, and our builder and joiner have both commented on the clarity and accuracy of these. Paul is always willing to take questions, carry out site visits and ably assisted by his wife Helen, provide fair and true costings for the work. Our building work is now underway and looking good. We have already recommended Oriel Architecture to friends and colleagues and will always return to them if we have architectural work in the future.
Mr & Mrs H, West Camel, nr Yeovil
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