Sensitive Welsh AONB Farmhouse

 

Project background

In between running their own business and managing a hectic calendar of sheepdog trials, our clients came to us to discuss rebuilding their family home in the Clwydian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The existing house had been extended over many years and had become a draughty warren that was a struggle to heat and maintain.  With 4 bedrooms and four reception rooms spread inefficiently over 300sqm, our clients wanted to start from scratch to create their dream home.

The house

Our clients’ brief was for a modern working farmhouse, well insulated, and easy to maintain. Internally they want a warm, light, and airy home, with an oak frame to add farmhouse character. They want an unhindered flow with minimal circulation space and the kitchen to be the social hub of the home.

Cold weather comes from the north-east, so the main entrance needed to offer protection from the elements and easy access to the farm.  The kitchen needed to make the most of the predominant views across the valley towards the south-west and north-west towards the hills.  The sun became ‘blinding’ during parts of the day on the southerly aspect, so the new house needed to consider how to control this without blocking it out.

As well as meeting our clients’ needs and coping with the demanding elements, we also needed to be mindful of the AONB’s planning guidance when it came to the design and scale of the new home. This includes guidance on the external materials used.

With Offa’s Dyke national trail passing 60m to the north of the site, in order to meet local planning policies, the design had to be truly sympathetic to its setting and could “not affect prominent public views.”

Progress

Despite the challenges created for bat surveys and drainage designs during the Covid-19 lockdown period, we successfully submitted a replacement dwelling application at the beginning of April 2020.  We are delighted by the AONB Joint Committee’s response to the scheme,  “The design of the new dwelling is commended as an example of development which respects its rural setting and will enhance the character of the AONB.”  We are keenly awaiting the planning decision which has been slightly delayed by the current circumstances.

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HERE'S WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY:

The team worked with us throughout the duration of our project, from the early design stages through to completion. We now have a wonderful oak framed home which we’ve been delighted to show to many other clients.

K HANSON

Because we used an architect first who was absolutely useless. He didn’t listen to us at all or give us a design that we wanted. In fact his design was so poor that I could have drawn it myself or just copied it straight from the internet. When we spoke to The Complete Oak Home you actually listened to us and provided us with a design that met all of our requirements.

B MERRON

We have both had a good look at the designs and we absolutely love them. It hugely exceeds our expectations and for this we are truly thankful of your superbly impressive work! We are so excited to think that this could be ours - you are very talented indeed.

D SMITH

To find out more about our client-led approach to design, have a read of our blog posts on bespoke architecture, designing from a blank canvas and our client lifestyle briefing process.

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