The site was a timber framed aisled barn in rural Oxfordshire. Converted to a dwelling in the 1930s by architect John Pym, it was featured in Country Life magazine in November 1935. Although impressive, the property was in need of modernisation.
David undertook a site appraisal of the property for the client during the purchase.
Initial conversations and sketches explored the possibilities. The aim was to provide a contemporary design without compromising the rural setting and massive structure of the original barn. More specifically, it was to be a working family home that could evolve.
At the centre of the house is an eight-metre high galleried hallway. This is the heart of the building and allows one to experience the strength and scale of the timber structure, of oak and elm.
The design was a process of subtraction rather than addition. The building was stripped back to the original oak structure of columns and trusses, which provided a grid around which spaces were planned.
The re-organisation of the first floor plan so that all the bedrooms were accessed via the central gallery was a major theme. The proportions of the original barn are celebrated with open plan spaces and ceilings that reach to the apex of the roof.
The new additions are treated as stand alone units and detailed accordingly.
The barn is situated on three acres of land with direct access to the village green beyond. It was therefore important to exploit theconnection with the landscape. Opening glazed strips along both the ground floor living areas and first floor master bedroom suite, characterise the garden elevation.
On summer evenings the family can slide open the full height windows and enjoy the garden below leading to the village green beyond.
The project was included in ‘Detail In Contemporary Bathroom Design’ by Virginia McLeod, published by Laurence King and was the subject of a technical feature in Building Design magazine.
Photography by Lyndon Douglas