A Picturesque Village Home, Beautiful & Sustainable

Inspired by an oak frame build featured in an Oakwrights brochure, Karen and Simon Lewis turned their attention to replacing their existing chalet style property


A planning consent story from the perspective of Oakwrights architectural designer, Darren Blackwell:

The initial meeting with Simon and Karen took place at their site in June 2008. The site in question is on the periphery of the historic, and picturesque village of Abinger Hammer, within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty of the Surrey countryside. The purpose of this meeting was to assess the site and its immediate surroundings from a planning perspective and to develop a design/lifestyle brief. An application for extending the existing property had recently been withdrawn from the planning register due to issues raised by the Planning Case Officer over the scale and mass of the proposal.

As a result of the issues raised by the planners, Simon and Karen turned their attention to replacing the existing, tired looking, circa 1940’s chalet style property, as this would give them more scope and flexibility in realizing their dream of self-building their own family home.


As part of the design brief, both Karen and Simon mentioned their desire to develop a scheme with inspired by the property known as Holly House, featured in an Oakwrights brochure. Whilst this was a good starting point, consideration had to be given as to the topography of the predominately sloping site and the positioning and orientation of the proposal on the site.


With the conceptual scheme underway, the relationship between the rooms within the internal layout was established, with predominately free flowing, open planned arrangements to the ground floor and four generous sized bedrooms accommodated within the roofspace of the one and a half storey, oak frame, structure. A single storey section, forming the lounge area was to be fully vaulted with exposed oak trusses forming the structural element of the roof, giving that instant ‘wow’ factor when entering the room.

After a couple of minor alterations the design was ready to be presented to the Planning Department of Guildford Borough Council in the form of a formal planning application. With supporting documentation, consisting of comparison floor area and volume calculations, we demonstrated that our proposal would result in an uplift in area and volume which was within the council’s prescriptive allowances. Whilst this was indeed the case, the Planning Case Officer was of the opinion that the single storey section forming the lounge area should be reduced in length. Rather than risk a refusal at this stage, this section was reduced and amended plans where submitted. Planning permission was granted in the December of 2008, with a subsequent approval granted the following March for a revised scheme, adding back on the section of the lounge area which had previously been removed.


Forward to 2016, the property which now occupies the site is one of a beautifully proportioned and aesthetically pleasing, sustainable family home for Simon and Karen which has mellowed to such an extent that it blends seamlessly into its rural setting.