This renovation began in November 2018 and ran for a full 10 months - during this time, and due to the fact that not one part of the building was left untouched, the clients placed their furniture and belongings in storage and moved into a rental property while the work was carried out.
This renovation, extension and refurbishment included two two-storey extensions, a complete re-wire and re-plumb, a new kitchen and bathrooms, and a re-model of the entire inside of the property which required every room being gutted. The client also wanted the already converted loft refurbished and the roof stripped to be re-tiled. Last on the list was to replace all the old UPVC windows and dress the house in hanging tiles.
So in short, this was a very big project and despite the house not being that old, various works had previously been completed over the years of varying degrees of quality, which meant that not only did our order of works need to change, but we had to reconsult with the engineer on several occasions.
Once everything was exposed, and we had the new engineer's specification, we could proceed with a new order of works. The first step was to dig the footings for the two new extensions and start building - given the amount of remodelling that was happening to the existing structure, this was also necessary to support the rest of the work.
While the original plan was to simply strip the tiles from the roof and replace the felt, baton and tiles, because the engineer had essentially condemned the structure which made up the floor of the loft conversion, which obviously formed part of the roof, it all had to come off and be rebuilt.
In order to do this in the latter part of the year, and also taking into account the British weather and its unpredictability, the whole build was covered by a scaffold roof.
During this process and ongoing through the build, we installed some 17 pieces of steel across the three floors as per the engineers specification. A considerable portion of these were due to the remodel and virtually every load bearing wall within the property moving.
With the brick work up, steels in place, new roof finished and windows replaced, we were able to begin on insulation, first fix electrics and plumbing. The property was now 5 bedroom with 4 bathrooms, a cloak room, kitchen and utility room, plus underfloor heating.
From here the job was more run-of-the-mill - plastering, tiling, fitting bathrooms and the kitchen, decorating and completing the outside of the property.
This project was the extension and remodel of a 14th century listed cottage in Laddingford, Kent. The objective was to extend the property in order to give the clients a proper family kitchen, renovate their downstairs bathroom, replace wiring and plumbing and heating system, remove an exterior wall and create an interior partition between two existing downstairs areas.
On this project, the clients had a very definite idea of how they wanted their extension to look, to both be in keeping with the existing timber framed cottage, and to make a real feature out of it. Previously, their kitchen was a small area inside the main building, and what was essentially a utility room in a badly built lean to. With the architect, they had designed a cathedral fronted, oak framed, vaulted ceiling room, which would become their new kitchen. Their old kitchen space would then become their dining room. Their old downstairs bathroom was to change in shape and size and become a far more usable shower room and toilet. The kitchen was designed by the client and bespoke kitchen manufacturer. As with all of our projects we offered design advice and support throughout – one notable example would be changing the cross beams and king posts in the roof structure to oak, as the architect had specified smaller soft wood beams. We felt that this would ruin the whole look of the extension.
The biggest challenge on this particular project was tying the extension into the existing property – not only did it need to be joined to the main building, but we also had to tie it into what remained of the single storey extension which contained their downstairs bathroom and was joined to the property next door. This meant we had three roof structures to consider, structural supports to install due to removing an exterior wall and the inherent issues of working on a property hundreds of years old. While this wasn’t an obstacle, constructing the cathedral front on the extension posed a specific challenge due to its size and weight as we constructed the whole thing on site using traditional methods.
This project in itself was designed to be a special feature on the property and make their family kitchen a beautiful and functional room to be in, overlooking their garden. The special features on this property include their new shower room, oak cross beams and king posts, custom made oak window frames and double doors, the solid oak cathedral front, underfloor heating, Kent peg tile roof, bespoke kitchen and new heating system. This job was also about the small details, which included a custom made oak threshold between two rooms, a new antique style radiator, wooden boxing, shelf work and exposed brickwork.
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.