Contemporary Farmhouse in stunning Lancashire valley

Oak Frame Building Costs

Area: Lancashire
House Type: Country Contemporary
House Size: 330m2
Build Route: Oakwrights and Self Managed
Build Time: 01 Feb 2018 – 01 Jun 2019
Build Cost: £2,622 per m2

Experienced self-builders Philip and Judi fell in love with the wonderful 360-degree views from an isolated Lancashire farm and knew it was a superb location to build their perfect oak frame home. With acres of grazing space for equine facilities for their horses it was perfect for themselves and their lifestyle needs. Faced with a slow start, finding the right Architect, and then pushing to finish the house in time to host a family wedding reception, their self-build journey was not what they had expected, but their finished home is every bit the dream.

After purchasing the farm, the couple soon concluded that the only way to achieve their dream home, and “wake up to those beautiful views”, was to demolish the existing Lancashire longhouse and start from scratch. The windows of the building were tiny and views from inside the building were almost impossible. “We would have to make too many compromises, so a self-build it would be.” Says Judi


Choosing to build with Oak

“Philip was keen not to restrict the Architects’ creativity to a particular building material” says Judi “however I knew that I wanted an oak framed home and after three unsuccessful attempts at working with Architects over a nine-month period our project ground to a halt. So, we decided to drive down to the Homebuilding and Renovating Show seeking inspiration.” Discussing their project with Helen Needham, our Head of Architecture, Philip and Judi felt that they had finally met an Architect who really understood them. “Helen was keen to come up to the site and discuss the project with us. She was the first Architect to sketch up some drawings as a starting point for us to work from. In fact, working with Oakwrights architectural and oak frame design team, to shape our dream home, was the most enjoyable part of the whole journey.” explains Philip.

“Working with Oakwrights architectural and oak frame design team, to shape our dream home, was the most enjoyable part of the whole journey.”


Rear elevation with the basement sundeck in view

Key design features

The project was instantly re-invigorated, and “suddenly progress was being made in leaps and bounds. Planning sailed through with only one minor change, and we were ready to start onsite. Our plot is north facing, therefore the orientation of the house on the site was as important as other design consideration. Oakwrights provided us with shadow diagrams so we could see what outdoor areas and rooms benefited from sunlight at different times of the day which was incredibly useful and with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from the site, framing the views was an was key when positioning the windows” explains Philip. To find out more about the planning and design process for Philip and Judi’s home, click here.

Designing and building a house that looked like it had always been there was very important to us. We chose the local honey coloured stone that gives out a warm and welcoming feel against the often grey background of the Lancashire skies” says Judi. “The original stone from the demolished house and barns was deemed unsuitable to use on the new house, fortunately a local reclamation yard was able to provide local stone from a Cotton Mill that was being taken down. The freshly cut stone mullions and door jambs were sandblasted to give a soft aged finish, giving the impression of a house well settled into its location. Local ramblers often ask the couple when they started renovating the house and cannot believe that it is a new build.” explains Judi

Entering the home through the fine Tudor style oak front door, Philip explains “I had a clear idea of the design for the entrance hall and heart of the home; a large double height space with vaulted oak framed ceilings, lots of glass to maintain a light and airy feel and with views out over the countryside. I wanted stairs leading up to a galleried landing, and on the ground floor doors leading off to the kitchen and dining room. Our steel, oak and metal staircase is very contemporary and with the glass balustrade on the landing it gives a very modern and light feel on entering the property, which is exactly the impression we desired.”

A beautiful light fitting to complement the jawdropping entrance.

“Such a beautiful entrance hall commanded a beautiful light fitting and at 8 metres high we had to commission the lighting. The modern bespoke chandelier is designed to fit the space and is perfectly positioned to be viewed through the surrounding windows. We actually mocked-up a chandelier using baler twine and water balloons hanging down from the ceiling, to get a sense of the proportions required, our builder thought we had gone mad! continues Philip.

Stunning open plan living at the hub of the home

The eastern elevation of Philip and Judi’s home features the open plan kitchen, dining room and garden room and makes up the hub for the household. Accessible from the backdoor, via the utility, this is the most used area of the house. “We have to remember that we have a front door too!” says Philip. The spacious shaker style kitchen has a warm and cosy vibe, with double ovens, induction hob on the large islands, large fridge freezer. “We chose to have exposed oak floor joists in the ceiling of kitchen and dining room as we love the character of the oak.” The garden room has three walls of face glazing and is the perfect place to site during the daytime and keep an eye on the horses in the fields below.

The living room on the other side of the house has a cosy feel, with oak floor joists adding warmth and an impressive fireplace that is made using the door jams of the original long house. The colourful wallpaper on the feature wall and French doors looking down onto the fields make it a wonderful place to retire to in the evening when the work is done and it is time to relax.

Heading up the staircase, the mezzanine landing offers wonderful views out over the surrounding landscape and leads to the five ensuite bedrooms all with vaulted ceilings adding a real feel of space and light. The master ensuite features the exact view that Philip fell for, with a face glazed gable creating the frame.

This modern oak framed country home offers one more wow factor, as you descend the stairs from the garden room, past the wine racks to the modern equivalent of the ‘billiard room’, a luxury ‘man cave’. Lots of concrete, walnut slats, cut face slate tiles and football murals adorn the walls and a comprehensive gin collection is lit up on feature wall. It is a fabulous space to socialise, and it is great to invite friends over, but Philip admits “it is in reality a bit of a man cave!”

Outside the underground hideout sits a wooden decking area, looking down towards the pond. Originally a ‘soggy hole’ that the farms septic tank drained into, has now been revitalized – “we dug out a pond, especially, but not only, for Lilah the Labradors to swim in! Nature has colonised the pond and we have even had kingfishers and a family of ducks this year” explains Judi.

On the drive by the back door the couple had a three bay Winchester garage with rooms above built to store building materials in during the build process.

Vaulted ceilings add an abundance of natural light to the five ensuite bedrooms upstairs.

“Initially we did not have a rigid time scale to work to, that was until our son and his fiancé asked whether they could hold their wedding reception at the farm. From this point on we were on a mission to finish the build by the following June. Oakwrights arrived on site September 2018 and within 10 days the oak structure was in place. It took a further 7 weeks to install the WrightWall encapsulation panels and Wright roof. At this point we had a dry shell. Admittedly we put pressure on the main building contractors and other suppliers not letting timescales slip, and we managed to get the house mostly finished and the exterior of the property looking fabulous for our son’s wedding reception.” Says Philip

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