Award-winning traditional oak frame in Norfolk

Oak Frame Building Costs

Area: Norfolk
House Type: Barn home
House Size: 300m2
Finance: Private
Build Cost: £585,000

Feature truss in the GreenRoom style sunroom

Words from John Williams – Regional Architectural Designer


Within just a mile of the sea, in a beautiful Norfolk village, located at the bottom of the homeowners existing mature garden, was the proposed build area for a new traditional home. With the current house already having impressive views, it was hard to believe that the proposed site had even better scenery to look at. The plot looks out over an old harbour, no longer full of water but a beautiful meadow, formed as a result of land-reclamation.

Having realised the possibilities that their garden plot offered, the couple were looking to build themselves a tailored home. They required an open-plan contemporary feel; in a space that would take advantage of the views and the sunlight that their current home simply could not offer.

There was an abundance of mature garden to enable a sensible sub-division without spoiling either property, with driveway and parking similarly feasible without compromising either premise. Features that they wanted to incorporate included: a first floor living area, a balcony, a family kitchen, dining and living space that would open into the garden area, a dining room, four or five bedrooms and large amounts of glazing. All the requests were to be worked around the unique views and capturing as much natural light as possible. The oak frame was to be used throughout the home internally, with vaulted ceilings up into the pitched roof on both ground and first floors.

A light filled living space

Bespoke timber frame building design

There will always be constraints to take into account, wherever the plot. However, it’s through challenging these constraints while looking to achieve all of the aims set out that the timber house design develops and becomes a reality. Due to their love for their current home, the concern for our clients was that the new building did not compromise the surrounding area. The design needed to be sympathetic to all of its neighbours. It was to be built using similarly textured and mellow materials that matched the local vernacular houses so that it was able to blend into its setting. The principal concerns for the local authority, and The Environment Agency in particular, was to set the new building high enough to prevent any potential risk of flooding during the most extreme flood events likely in the future.

Only through this type of site visit and detailed conversation, is it really possible to fully appreciate all of the issues. Prepared with all of the visual and written information, a truly bespoke design could begin to develop. With only a few minor alterations between the initial sketches and the finished drawings, the planning application was soon ready to submit. Having dealt with the critical issues raised by the local authority, which had all been flagged up early on in pre-application negotiations, the application was approved without alteration.


Homebuilding & Renovating magazine award winners

These particular homeowners also happened to own their own building company and so decided to project manage the construction of the new home. As plans for the new house began to take shape, the couple began to have doubts as to whether they could tear themselves away from their much-loved period property. Until a family relative realised there was an opportunity to become the owner of this unique house, solving the self-builder’s problem!

With all these unique factors in place: the prominent position, detailed design requirements and reference to the local vernacular given great consideration, extended family involvement in the project, it was with great pride that the house was given the award of ‘The Best Traditional Home’ in the Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine Awards.

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Award winning ‘best traditional home’

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