Here’s a challenge….how do you renovate a Tudor farmhouse to make it as warm and cosy as a new build home whilst retaining its historical features ?
Simple…you think like an Elizabethan would have done. Reduce, re-use, re-cycle – modern words commonly used in this brave new green age but actually the message and building methods are centuries old and have stood the test of time.
Speaking last year at the Royal Geographical Society, TV celebrity, architect and staunch supporter of Britain’s heritage listed buildings Kevin McCloud was challenged by a member of the audience on this exact point. Many of the UK’s Tudor listed buildings are drafty and leak heat, therefore adding to the huge amount of carbon polluting the atmosphere generated from our homes.
How, she asked, are owners of listed and conserved properties to maintain our wonderful historic homes and at the same time better care for the planet?
His answer is demonstrated by one of the listed building renovation projects that ClearPlan are presently working on. The way to approach it is to think about how the building has been and is to be used use, look at the best of modern building innovation and blend the two.
The story so far – the owners of a Grade II listed Tudor farmhouse in Hertfordshire approached ClearPlan to drive the renovation of their home forward. They care deeply about the history attaching to the main farmhouse, its Grade II listed Tudor barn and environmental habitat (bats, ancient well and potential archaeological issues). It was therefore critical to ensure that changes to be made were as sensitive to the existing building as possible and complying with the restrictions of its listed status.
They also have a young family and are therefore keen that whatever changes are made to their listed building effect the environment in as positive way as possible.
The original Tudor farmhouse has been used as a family home since its construction – approximately thirty years ago a large full height extension was added to one side of the building. Whilst this addition suited the living purposes of the family living there at the time, it was not sympathetic to the look and feel of the site’s Elizabethan heritage.
The renovation of this historic Tudor building has included demolishing the extension and re-building it using different, more traditional materials. The main farmhouse is red brick – the former extension had been completed in new brick with cream render. The house looked what it was, the somewhat unsuccessful fusion a modern and ancient building.
Using black timber cladding from a sustainable wood source and glazing which marries up with that in the existing barn, the new extension appears to be a natural continuation of the farmhouse. In a thoroughly modern building twist, the new addition goes underground incorporating a huge open plan basement suitable for children and dogs to romp in without the feeling of constraint that is part of the charm of some of the smaller original “Tudor” sized rooms.
Every element of this renovation has been carefully considered – the site itself covers roughly six acres. The existing energy sources to the property were insufficient for the requirements of the house and new extension. An upgrade was needed and the owners welcomed the opportunity of working with ClearPlan to explore green energy options.
Having analysed and costed all of the options, ground source heat pumps combined with under floor heating and additional internal insulation means that this Tudor property is now as snug and inviting as anyone could wish.
It just goes to show, just because you’re old doesn’t mean you have to be old fashioned.