DESIGNING THE OAK FRAMED HOME
This was how it looked when we were approached by Dave and Debbie, who just wanted to alter the design on an attractive site on the edge of a village near the Humber Estuary. The approved scheme had not been designed to incorporate an oak frame, which the couple had set their heart on; to be specific they were enamoured by a Woodhouse style property, having visited the Oakwrights Show Home in Herefordshire.
We set about negotiating with the local authority to persuade them of the virtues of a Woodhouse style design on the plot. There was inevitably some “too-ing and fro-ing” about how the new scheme related to some existing mature trees on the site that had to be retained, and the appropriateness of the materials and overall height of the design in its setting on the edge of the Conservation Area. However, soon enough, we found ourselves ready to submit the planning application with broad support from the planning and conservation officer.
At this point, what had appeared to be a reasonably straight forward process was sadly brought to an untimely stop. Dave and Debbie had been about to complete the purchase of the plot, when the owners went to ground and couldn’t be contacted, despite Dave’s best efforts.
At the final hour, their dreams for this site had to be abandoned, and the search for a new site began.
Twelve months later, we received a call from Dave to say he had located another opportunity, within just a few hundred metres of the first site, still within their favoured village. In the intervening year, he and Debbie had bought a house with a large garden, and sensibly gone through a process of ‘Outline’ Planning Permission to gain approval for a new dwelling within the grounds.
This time, there was no potential for the problem of the land ownership to arise. The key issues to be considered was the relationship with the neighbours to north and east, ensuring the scheme did not overlook or have a roof ridge height positioned where it might overshadow the properties nearby.
The Woodhouse design of the Oakwrights Show Home had always appealed to Dave and Debbie because of the way the internal post-and-beam style structural oak frame gave character to each room, and created a unity throughout the whole property without being over-powering. Working to a tight build budget, we worked carefully with Dave to ensure that the framing was incorporated where it really mattered, removing it from areas where more economical solutions could be utilised without compromising the design. In preference of a ‘face-glazed’ oak frame on the elevations, they decided to stick with more conventional joinery windows and doors set within the construction of traditional brick cavity and block work internal skin, preferring to use their budget to continue the oak frame into the room above the attached garage.
Patience and perseverance have finally paid off for Dave and Debbie, with the oak frame due to be delivered in Spring 2013. Their project is well and truly under way, simply not on the site they had first imagined!