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An oak frame garage to house classic cars in Cambridgeshire

Philip and Clara’s home is located within a charming Cambridgeshire village, surrounded by amazing countryside views. Driven by their passion for classic cars and more importantly, their classic cars, the couple decided they wanted to add to their beloved home by building a complementary garage to store them safely and securely within.

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Choosing to build with oak

Philip and Clara’s home is made from reclaimed Cambridgeshire bricks which are naturally light in colour. Having discussed plans for their new garage with their neighbours, Philip and Clara felt that while their home is brick in structure, it would be more suitable for their garage to be constructed using an alternative material that would work in harmony with the look and feel of both their house and village setting.

“We live in a conservation area,” explains Philip. “Therefore, it was important that the design of our garage was sympathetic to its location and met with planning approval of our neighbours. Nothing felt better than choosing weathered oak to match our surrounding environment.”

Philip and Clara approached an Architect to design their garage and in 2017, they were delighted to receive planning approval to build their outbuilding. Subsequently, the couple began researching oak frame suppliers and obtained quotations from three companies.

“At the time we worked with an Architect, as we did not appreciate Oakwrights’ design service offering,” says Philip. “We probably could have saved ourselves some money. Oakwrights were later recommended to us by our neighbour who is in the construction industry. We went to meet them and had a full tour of their workshops, where I realised their attention to detail in terms of quality and craftsmanship. Building these structures is immense, and so is their finished work. We also saw how the major components of the frames are put together, so we knew how our garage would be constructed on-site.”

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The process

The couple worked with Zoe Grey, a Regional Design Consultant here at Oakwrights. Together they ensured the design of Philip and Clara’s timber garage met their exacting needs.

“Philip also wanted the oak to complement the cars they would store in the garage, so we included oak trusses, rafters and oak studwork to make something really special in accordance with the Architect’s drawings,” says Zoe. “It was incredibly important for me and the team here at Oakwrights that the finished project not only lived up to the ideas Philip had but also the high level of detail was consistent throughout the whole build, so it would work practically every day.”

Groundworks commenced at Philip and Clara’s home in January 2018 and their bespoke four-bay oak frame garage, shaped like a square with two bays in front and two behind, was constructed from start to finish before their eyes.

From their driveway, the garage peeps out from behind a garden bush, where two large front oak doors can be opened to reveal the four bays (and of course, their remarkable classic cars stored within!)

“We opted for everything to be made from oak internally, and although this did cost more, it’s so worth having a total frame, as to us it didn’t feel right to mix oak with softwood,” explains Philip. “We love how the oak joints are shaped and crafted. The curved beams flow brilliantly with the roof design.”

Externally, large sections of Philip and Clara’s garage are clad with oak to continue the look and feel of the garage design they had in mind from the outset.

“We particularly like the design touches Oakwrights gave to the frame, and how the oak has matured over time,” says Philip. “It looks as if it has been there for years and fits in so well with the environment.

The guys who put it up never stopped working for the whole week and were truly the hardest working people we’ve had constructing on-site,” continues Philip. “It’s hard work putting up one of these frames; from the skill required and attention to the quality, we were again amazed and so were our neighbours.”

"We went to meet them and had a full tour of their workshops, where I realised their attention to detail in terms of quality and the craftsmanship."

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A timeless home addition for timeless classic cars

“Our classic cars are our pride and joy,” says Philip. “I believe it’s more enjoyable to live at our house as we have peace of mind knowing our valuables are secure. We actually went a notch further and installed a dehumidifier from Dehum inside so it’s completely dry and no rust can form.”

With the theme of additional storage in mind, Philip and Clara use their garage for stowing away paperwork and furniture that’s not currently in use within their home.

“When I went to visit Philip and Clara’s garage, it was the hottest day of the year, so it was perfect to see it shining in its full glory” smiles Zoe. “I was bowled over by the detail Philip had worked in with the rest of the project, such as the resin floor which really sets off the oak features. This oak frame garage is a fantastic example of what we do best here at Oakwrights to make our clients’ ideas come to life, but equally to Philip for staying true to his ideas and setting the bar at such a high standard.”

Philip concludes to say, “There is a difference between a quality company like Oakwrights and another quotation you may get. Our garage was a good investment, and it has added more value to our house. A home is not just a house; it must fit in with its surroundings, and so any outbuildings should be treated was much care and attention as the main house. They should complement each other, both aesthetically and from a quality perspective.”

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