White Barn — Grade II Listed Barn Conversion Somerset
Following design and development of a masterplan for this Georgian country estate in rural Somerset, The White Barn is a bold conversion of its Grade II Listed 19th century cob-and-brick-built coach house, part of a group of outbuildings that were also renovated and modernised.
The conversion sought to maintain the character and appearance of the coach house without substantial alteration of the exterior with carefully considered construction details. This approach meant that, amongst other considerations, use of lime mortars for repointing and masonry repairs, salvage and reuse of roofing slates and introduction of a long row of traditional industrial roof glazing to bring light into the interior were included.
Achieving energy standards and sufficient thermal insulation without compromising the interior is always a design challenge with these conversions. In this case a well-insulated inner lining to the building was installed, finished with either plaster or horizontal timber boarding, mimicking the earlier panelled carriage and tack rooms of the coach house. This approach makes use of the building’s inherent thermal mass that, coupled with overall project ambitions for sustainable design, included installation of a biomass heating system that also serves other parts of the complex, and underfloor heating throughout the ground floor for a comfortable and efficient approach.
Framed views and improvement of the connection between inside and outside was always a consideration in this wonderful setting. While its location within the wider outbuilding group limited significant spill-out areas, the former service yard has become an intimate courtyard garden.
These designs were achieved by being ‘practically creative’ with the existing fabric, construction management approach and selection of materials, where the final result belies the complexity of the supporting surrounding infrastructure that was achieved through working with a skilled team of individual contractors and craftspeople.
Working with Dan Pearson Studio an early part of our brief was to develop a masterplan for the estate to inform a longer-term strategy for alterations and improvement. Based upon an analysis of what was there and what was wanted, the masterplan took an overview to provide an achievable vision and its component parts whilst remaining realist about the details.
As well as considering the potential of the buildings and landscape, the masterplan included the context and setting of the estate taking into account its historic evolution as well as focusing upon future uses and enjoyment. This plan supported planning and listed building consent applications for individual parts of the scheme that were then progressed as well as providing a strategic vision upon which anticipated expenditure and an implementation plan could be based.