OAK HOME DESIGN BRIEF
Clive and Gill had sketched out some ideas already to get the ball rolling. The couple were after something attractive, well crafted, and with a contemporary slant, that took advantage of its hillside out-look. The existing 1970's bungalow, with reconstituted Cotswold stone was a little less than desirable. "We had initially considered upgrading the insulation and simply taking down the roof, and building on another level, but once we'd looked into the figures, it hardly seemed worth it." The bungalow just had to go – so it was decided to demolish and start again from the ground up.
Clive had been attracted to the idea of an oak frame to add that tactile character to a contemporary house and came to Oakwrights in early 2011 to get some initial figures and design input on the current design. That is when Ant Carroll, from the Oakwrights sales team, introduced Clive to me, and I was invited to take on their project. Clive was keen to get the full benefits of an oak framed house, and all the design opportunities that working with oak provides. We often find that if the oak frame has not been considered early on in the project, it can lead to many unnecessary complications and expensive complexities. Having your architectural designs done by Oakwrights, where a wealth of technical expertise is to hand can really pay off in the transition from the planning stage, to the technical design stages and production. We took Clive and Gill's current plans a step further and came up with a concept design for pre-application consultation, and full planning application.
The design included a large vaulted living room area, with a face-glazed gable that opens out onto the valley views. A feature oak staircase is at the heart of the house, which cuts through the mezzanine level, up into the midst of the oak frame. As you pass up the staircase to the open plan study area, the dynamic views across the valley are heightened as you gaze across the open void. It is always worth while giving space to the oak frame, exposing the trusses and robust lines that give an oak frame its charm. The living room spills out of the glazed gable onto a sun terrace belvedere – a great place for sun lounging. Adjacent is the kitchen dining area, with generous access to the terrace where an oak pergola offers shade or outdoor dining space. Beneath the Cotswold stone clad terrace, an under-croft is cut into the hillside to house the garage and workshop.
On visiting the Oakwrights 'Try Before You Buy' show home, Clive and Gill really liked the intimacy of the room-in-roof bedroom, with its triangular apex windows; this became a 'must' on their new house. Our clients find that, when they visit the show home, such small details tend to further inspire their designs.
GAINING PLANNING PERMISSION
The site lies within the curtilage of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and marginally outside a conservation area. It was clear that we would need to present a strong case to the planning officers to get anything larger than the existing bungalow approved. Much time was spent on the design and access statement to help present a compelling case. Clive and Gill were keen to be involved in the process and were able to take a number of shots from the reflecting hillsides in preparation for photo montage. The design and access statement showed the proposal situated harmoniously with the wooded backdrop, while demonstrating precedents in the local neighbourhood, supporting the use of similar materials.
We watched the Stroud planning website eagerly for the result, and anticipation grew as the parish council supported the application, and finally, the plans were successfully approved. This project is now well and truly underway I look forward to updating readers in the future with a full case study on the Oakwrights website.