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An oak framed family home nestled within Cheshire Nature

Welcome to Lower Withington – home to charming Cheshire countryside, a friendly close-knit community, and the Robinson family...

In the early 2000s, William and Rachel Robinson had their sights set on moving home. And while the opportunities self-building would provide crossed their minds, they fell in love with the potential of ‘Daisy Bank’ – an idyllic cottage needing a touch of their TLC. Relishing the prospect of their renovation journey ahead, William and Rachel moved into Daisy Bank in 2005, content with taking their time to transform it into their home. However, in 2010 their plans took a traumatic turn when their fridge freezer’s capacitor caught fire, releasing an acidic smoke that caused irremovable damage wherever it fell.

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Choosing to build with oak

William and Rachel felt like their forever-after project had been taken away. However, a weekend spent in Hay on Wye later that year and a trip to wonderous Weobley rekindled their home-making aspirations, as they immersed themselves in the Herefordshire village’s rich heritage and oak framed natural beauty.

The county had captured the Robinson family’s hearts like it magically does for so many, and the seed of self-building with oak had been planted.

Finding a building plot

Community spirit and being part of a neighbourhood were (and remain) important to William and Rachel – something they sensed instantly when they visited a house in Lower Withington, called Wood Cottage, which was for sale under private treaty. Similarly to Daisy Bank, it needed work: much more than just a lick of paint, and planning permission would also be required if they wanted to start from scratch and self-build. However, they could see their family’s future as clear as day beyond its topsy-turvy layout and rundown façade. 

“Losing almost everything in the fire gave us the strength to know we could achieve anything and create our dream home there,” explains Rachel. “It was just a case of deciding what to do.”

Chartered Architect William put pencil to paper to map out how he thought their new home and site could work, considering all aspects of it, including a prominent magnolia tree which the positioning of their Wood Cottage has been designed around.

Feeling hopeful and at home in Lower Withington, the family purchased their new property.

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Working with our teams

William knew that work commitments and family life wouldn’t leave him enough time to dedicate to their architectural design. So, he and Rachel began searching for a forward-thinking oak framing specialist they could work with to create a bespoke concept that would meet their whole family’s needs. Having admired our clients’ properties in magazines over the years, William recalls:

“While Oakwrights embraced the tradition of oak framing, they also approached the layout of our future home in a more contemporary style than some other companies we looked at. This, coupled with their high-performance encapsulation systems, is why we chose them.”

Working in partnership with our Architectural Designer, John Williams, William, Rachel and their two daughters collaborated to curate the design of the beautifully bespoke reality you can see below. And during their journey with us, the family returned to Herefordshire to visit our show home, The Woodhouse, where they gained further oak frame inspiration

At the heart of William and Rachel’s home is their open-plan kitchen. Designed and handmade by David Lisle, it’s a social space where they can cook and entertain with ease. Breath taking views across their paddocks can also be enjoyed here and throughout their home thanks to the purposeful positioning of face glazing and French doors, which also give back to the family by letting natural light flood in from every angle.

“The timber, face glazing and doors are timeless,” adds William. “And I like the calmness of our home and how it brings everyone closer to nature. Butterflies, birds and bees busy themselves in the garden, while our neighbouring cows mosey in the fields beyond.”

“What’s more, our home is so incredibly well-insulated,” says Rachel. “The encapsulation helps to keep our family warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We love living here.”

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