The original buildings are shown on the 1400 maps as a small collection of buildings, undoubtedly rebuilt many times, these buildings comprised of Wealden sandstone built barns and animal pens, substantially improved last in 1900 and used for hay and wood storage, cattle, pigs and heavy horses. Truly agricultural and with a history and character that screams: ‘preserve me for the future’!
An architect had been involved in the original plans before we took the project on, however we felt it really limited the potential for light and views out of the barn, and given that barn conversions limit the creation of new openings, every opportunity for light and making the most of a sightline must be taken. Changing the link between the two pre-existing buildings to a traditional oak structure with glazing between the principal posts was the making of this conversion – letting in the light, so the design was heavily reworked and planning resubmitted with success.
Designing the space and external visual aspects of a property is one thing, but nailing down exactly how it will be built and how it will achieve the required insulation and performance standards to pass building inspection is another matter. We worked through the details of the build to sympathetically work with traditional materials, while delivering a warm and energy efficient building with underfloor heating operating off a ground source heat pump.
This was a sizeable project requiring a good deal of care to protect the fabric and character of the building. All of the existing earth floors had to be removed, the existing structure underpinned, new floors and roof structures built, and the walls of the building upgraded to modern standards. Sandstone sourced locally from Philpot’s quarry (the last commercial quarry in the weald) was hand cut and carved on site to ensure authenticity of finish and oak was sourced locally through Roundwood of Mayfield. The project was split into 2 phases, an initial phase to get the family in and living in the property having completed the essentials, and then a second phase to complete everything else, including the external landscaping and planting.
Home life is not just about the 4 walls around you, but also the bit between that and the rest of the world. Most projects of this nature absorb cash, and there is little left for landscaping. Careful budgeting to leave enough to ensure you create a home that is both about the inside and the outside and how they work together is really important if you want to achieve a home that is more than just glamorous shelter. Living equally inside and outside is where we experience light, nature, and a sense of being one with the world, while having that warm cosy shelter when the storm rolls in – we need both. House meets garden at Dewlands and we are perfectly qualified and capable to work on architectural and garden design projects.