“Combining passive contemporary design, giving exceptional levels of light and space whilst navigating complex planning policy on a greenbelt site ”

After living in a compact cottage with small rooms, low ceilings and small windows, our clients jumped at the chance of buying a plot in the village they currently lived in, with the dream of building a light, airy open plan oak framed family home that they could grow into. They wanted to be able to see their children playing in the garden from wherever they were when downstairs in the house. However, the plot they bought is in a Greenbelt area and is outside of the development boundary of the village. Our clients came to us at The Complete Oak Home asking us to meet these design requirements and help us with this potentially contentious application.

 So how have we helped our clients to achieve their dream?

Well first things first, we have worked closely with our clients and our planning consultant to produce a design that has the best chance of success in achieving planning permission, whilst meeting the key requirements of the client’s brief. The project has required a thorough understanding of the planning policies, the planning history of the site and the preparation of a comprehensive document that makes the case for planning permission to be granted. We have handled the entire process for our clients ensuring they feel they are in a safe pair of hands.

Secondly, we use a comprehensive lifestyle briefing process when we initially meet with our clients, to ensure that we fully understand what they really want from their dream home. Every single house we build is 100% bespoke. We don’t have any set style and because we don’t manufacture the oak frame, we are very flexible about the type of frame we use to meet the best design requirements of the build, and about how much frame we actually incorporate into the design.

The House

So in order to ensure the scheme best meets planning requirements and our client’s brief we produced an oak framed family home design as follows.

Our initial drawings focussed on incorporating light into the building. We felt that a glass ridge window in the roof would be the most effective way of ensuring good light penetration into the building, with the inclusion of a cut through floor on the middle level to ensure that the light from the glass roof ridge would flood through to the ground floor.

On the South facing side wall we incorporated a clerestory window where the light can flow through the building from a different angle.

The kitchen and the dining room are open plan, with a moving partition, which when positioned as in the floorplan below, creates a snug/play area, but can also be moved to fully open up the space when our clients are entertaining. Because the rooms aren’t separated out the design creates an even greater feeling of space. The bi-fold doors from the kitchen and the French doors from the dining room give great light permeability and easy access to the garden.

Our clients have young children who love playing outside, and so we were asked to make sure they could see as much of the garden as possible from the downstairs open plan rooms. Making the space open plan without walls and using the bi-fold and French doors means that light and visibility requirements are both met, and they can keep a close eye on their little adventurers whilst cooking/entertaining and relaxing themselves, even if they’re inside and the children are outside.

We needed to make sure that the front of this oak framed family home complemented the existing street scene, as planners are very concerned with this, so the view of the street, with the new house included, needed to fit the local architectural vernacular. As such, the front view of the house is very traditional. Beyond that the light spacious more contemporary house that our clients wanted has been delivered in spade loads!


This was a complex and potentially controversial planning application as the site was outside of all development boundaries and right next to a conservation area, and so essentially it was for a new dwelling in open countryside. The pre-app had indicated that permission would not be granted. Through good design, ensuring that we had a clear strategic plan and working closely with our clients to muster local support, the application was successful.

By designing with clean open space, the simplicity of design with no complicated roof lines, dormers etc. has really helped with the client’s brief. We have actually only added about 80% to their current floor space but because of the clever design, the client has agreed that, the feeling of space is much greater. Our client’s dreams of having their bespoke oak framed family home designed and built came true in 2017.

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The Complete Oak Home offer something rather different, not oak frame manufacturers but oak frame experts who design & build oak frame homes. 


The one thing that has enabled us to progress is I believe finding a company that is prepared to partner with us from the very beginning and take us through planning, design/costing, tendering and build through to completion (or to any stage along the way). The Complete Oak Home offers us a way of achieving our dream by undertaking those tasks for us. 


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.