Trottenden Oast, Lidwells Lane, Goudhurst Kent TN17 1ES

This project was the full refurbishment of a loyal client’s family bathroom suite in their listed manor house. The last work we did for this family was their kitchen, which we won a regional award for in 2017.

The clients had designed the bathroom themselves, with a little help from an interior designer friend of theirs and had a very clear idea of what they wanted to achieve, which was very much the case with the kitchen we completed. They had everything chosen from tiles, units, sanitary ware and the type of shower. Like many of our clients they are a pleasure to work for and their meticulous nature suits the way we work down to the ground. They had chosen a walk-in shower/wet room, a free-standing claw foot bath, double sink unit and concealed cistern/floating toilet. Like the other rooms we have completed for them all the oak was refurbished, ceilings replaced, and everything done to the last detail.

Their house presents us with plenty of obstacles, purely because of its age. The only way to tackle this bathroom was to completely gut the room and remove the bathroom upon bathroom fitted before. This included replacing the wall between the bathroom and the adjoining room as it was just one layer of lath and plaster. Given the age of the building the floor was ridiculously out of level which had to be sorted first – we couldn’t touch the joists and we couldn’t touch the floorboards as they formed the ceiling in the room below. We built a frame and sympathetically levelled the floor. This meant a step into the bathroom was created, so we had to remove and shorten the original oak door to get it to fit. Once we had a level ‘playing field’ we could begin assembling their dream bathroom.

The bathroom boasts all new electrics, lighting and plumbing (including a newly installed pump) to boost the water pressure for their shower. They have a claw foot, free-standing bath under in front of the window with a floor standing mixer tap, plus a concealed cistern, floating toilet. The real feature in this room though is the remote walk-in shower/wet room with contrasting tiles and mosaics. We also made them a shelf for shampoo bottles complete with glass shelf and light, plus a little cupboard next to the toilet for convenient storage. All the oak in the room was refurbished and the ceiling was also stripped out and replaced – a challenge in itself between oaks as old as these.

    

    

    

This job was for another regular client in another listed, period property. Despite the size of the room and the fact that it was technically a kitchen, it got very little use. The clients used a smaller area for food prep. The main reason this room was rarely used, was because of the huge beam above the top of the Aga, which for them was below head height.

     

It was obstructive and made using the Aga very difficult and annoying. The beam also encroached into the room and was supported by a pillar, which again took up space and was located in an awkward position.

Essentially, fitting a new kitchen was pointless and irrelevant if we couldn't deal with the issue of the beam. The beam's purpose was to support part of a chimney above it - why something that big was put in for that we have no idea, but we came up with a solution.

     

We built a load bearing wall to the left of the Aga, supported the concrete lintels under the chimney with a piece of steel and trimmed back the lintels to an appropriate length. Once complete we could remove the old beam, and the pillar that propped up the other end of it.

Another simple but fairly sizeable challenge was to install the large decorative oak beams across the room, locate and deal with some buried pipework, re-wire, re-plumb and remove some rather interesting decorative features in the room.

     

From this point onwards it was a pretty straightforward kitchen fit, which has turned a relatively unused room in their house, into the heart of the home again.

   

     

 

Lindridge is a house we've been back to various times over the years, to undertake different projects for these clients. On this occasion, it was to knock two rooms into one, in order to make a much larger and more useable space, which the client wanted to turn into a dining/living area.

The first step was to strip back the plaster from the wall that we were due to remove to have a proper look at what we were dealing with. The wall itself was load bearing (or was meant to be); the oak was rotten through and all the brick work was live.

As required, we called our structural engineer so he could visit and draw us a schematic of what needed to be done.

 

 

With the wall gone and beam supported we began building the stud work in order to straighten up and insulate all the internal brick walls. Once we had the drawings back from the engineer we could begin work on the supporting structure.

          

The supporting structure consisted of four oak columns spaced equally under the main cross-beam. The foundations for the columns were dug to 1m deep and 1/2m square. While working on refurbishing the inglenook fireplace, we discovered some celling joists that were barely supported, so added some more structural oak. It's common while working on a listed property of this age, that you find additional works to be carried out.

          

When the first fix on the wiring and the plumbing was completed, all the walls could be closed up and insulated. The next task was the floor and the client had chosen a large stone slab, which worked brilliantly with the oak and large dining table they had for the room.

          

With the structural work done, walls repaired and flooring laid, our finishing tasks were to second fix on the electrics and plumbing, decorate and refurbish all the existing oak in the room.

          

          

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