Beautiful House Extension Built in Cumbria, The Lake District By Wolfe Design Build
Wolfe Project –
2 storey extension
- What was the main objective of the project?
Our brief was to bring light and space into this beautiful 400 year old Lake District home, with the addition of a 2 storey extension to the gable end. Our client wanted us to design and build a scheme which was sympathetic to the character of the original property, whilst benefitting from modern design and materials. Light and space was important as the original home, whilst full of character, had areas with low ceilings and beams and relatively small windows, so light had to come in, particularly into the existing kitchen. There was also a desire to use reclaimed and salvaged materials to bring character into the extension, and to achieve their goals within budget and on schedule.
- What are the key highlights or outstanding features?
This blending of the modern and the old is this projects greatest accolade, fitting with the original building and its rural surroundings.
This began with a front elevation in a style mirroring and being sympathetic to that of the original house, with timber windows and a matching colour palette. Next came 2 sets of aluminium bi folding doors, opening onto natural stone, and at first floor onto a full width balcony. On both levels this delivered light and space, as well as the view of the Lake District mountains and down to the estuary which this elevation faced.
The mixture of old and new continued with exposed steel work, combined with inventive use of reclaimed timber and salvaged scaffold planks. Reclaimed floorboards were used throughout, salvaged from a derelict church hall, still bearing the court markings from a 1000 netball and basketball matches!
A modern en-suite and built in wardrobes for modern living, was combined with stone and reclaimed timber, and a sliding ‘barn door style’ door rail to maintain character throughout. Right down to the sourcing of reclaimed light fittings and door handles, attention to detail was key in creating something our customer agrees is truly unique.
- What challenges were overcome?
There was a great responsibility working with a property that had stood the test of time for hundreds of years, within this rural setting, to create something that truly complemented and enhanced its character – a goal we are delighted our customer agrees we achieved.
As well as adding light and space to the extension itself, it was key that this project worked and complements the house as a whole, also bringing light into the existing kitchen, located at ground floor next to the extension. This was achieved by opening up the existing (2 meter thick) external wall and buttress at ground floor into the new extension, flooding the existing kitchen with light. The removed stone was reused around the grounds by the customer, for garden walling, and to level and bring back into use an area of previously water logged garden.
By creating access to the new bedroom from the existing first floor landing, by relocating the family bathroom to the far side of the house, the flow of the whole house was not only maintained but improved. Bi fold doors and windows were double glazed, and the extension insulated throughout to exceed the required U values. Our customer confirms this meant the new wood burning stove seems to go a long way to heating much of the house.
Extensive use of reclaimed and recycled materials throughout helped meet ours customer sustainability, design and budget goals, as well as being key in introducing character to the extension.
Good design and communication from the start meant few changes in design or schedule occurred in project, but it was far from without its challenges. Being situated at the end of a winding narrow private lane, deliveries could never have been made without the resilience and determination of our trusted supply chain.
- How did we manage key relationships?
Careful design, good communication throughout and a clear and achievable work schedule from the start was invaluable to the success of this project. Maintaining this communication and detailed schedule helped minimised disruption, inconvenience (and surprises) to the customer, who lived in the main house throughout. Sensitivity from the Wolfe build team to this was crucial in maintaining a good relationship.
Where there were unavoidable points of disruption, (such as when we opened up into the main house), good notice was given and every possible step taken to minimise the impact. A great relationship with our local supply change was also important with challenging access. In this location there were few neighbours to engage, but those there were, were kept in the picture at both design and build stages. Without the expertise and good humour of the Wolfe build team, non of this could have been achieved, on this or any of our project, a fact we are incredibly great for.
- Testimonial from our client.
I’m so pleased I chose to work with Wolfe on our extension. We had been planning to do it for quite a long time but knew there would be some hurdles as it’s a 400 old house which had a huge buttress on the side that needed to be removed. Tim and his team were so knowledgeable and made sure I knew what needed to be done, updated me on progress which made the whole process so much easier to handle. We could not be happier with the space that its created, the light in the main downstairs area has had such an impact on our family life and during summer the bi folds open towards the mountains which we love!
The bedroom and en suite is better than I could have hoped for as we opted for a balcony that added a bit more time to the build, but it was so worth it. I would definitely use Wolfe again in the future as they were really professional and delivered exactly what I wanted.
- Why we loved this project
We believe (and more importantly our customer agrees too), we have created a truly unique Lake District home, maintaining the original character of the house, yet bringing all the benefits of modern design and build techniques to meet today’s needs of our client. From the overall design, to the smallest of details, old has been blended with new, maintaining the original character, feel and flow of the house. Nor could this have been achieved without a thoughtful and inventive approach to the use of salvaged and reclaimed materials throughout.
We are incredibly proud of our team, on every project, but particularly here, in how they approached all of its challenges. Great design, a clear plan and good communication lead to its smooth running, timescales hit and delivered on budget. Yet there were challenges to overcome, ranging from those associated with working with such an old building, with its 2 meter thick irregular walls and buttress, to those of access for tradespeople and materials, particularly through the winter months. An additional daily challenge was to maintain a comfortable, safe home environment for our customer throughout, which our customer assures us we did achieved.