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31st Jan 2017

Outbuildings; An alternative way to extend your living space

Do you have an outbuilding, barn or garage within striking distance of your property? We are seeing more and more clients looking to extend their living space by linking existing buildings.

Our clients, in a beautiful Oxfordshire village location, had a wealth of outbuildings to utilise. The old barn next to the original farmhouse was to become a large vaulted kitchen / entertaining space - complete with WC, utility and its own entrance boot room. The Kitchen-Barn accesses the sweeping front driveway, side and front gardens and will eventually be linked to the main house by a walkway. Given its position and abundant openings, its triple aspect allows the ebbs and flows of natural light to bathe the space from early morning to sundown.

When designing the space our clients had an understated simplicity in mind - in keeping with the old barn and providing a perfect backdrop on which to display their eclectic and ever changing collection of modern art.  

The kitchen itself, designed from scratch and hand made by BarrKitchens, offers the client infinite storage and top of the range, integrated appliances. A fully automated Blum drawer system gives a ‘touch’ of luxury to the solid oak drawer boxes and allows for handle less contemporary elegance. Cabinetry has been specialist sprayed for a perfect matt white finish.  Worktops over the main cabinetry runs (one of them 6 metres long!) are honed oak with mitered waterfall ends and seem to go on forever.  Each oak section is cut to exactly fit the original uneven walls of the barn. The island top, also oak, is cantilevered to form what seems like an enormous floating breadboard! 

The Miele handle-less knock to open dishwasher, Corian sink units with preformed bowls, Quooker taps, stand alone build-in ice machine, under counter Fisher & Paykel freezer drawers have all been fitted to stand the test of time and the traffic of entertaining. A bespoke walk-in larder was designed to maximise the useful space in a deep corner.

StuartBarrCDR started with grounds work; the floor dig out and reconstruction was as strip slab sections so as not to undermine the structural integrity of the building. Ground source heat pumps were installed to feed the insulated underfloor heating system, as well as to future proof for heating the main house when renovated in years to come.

Up in the roof sections plasterwork was stripped and beams exposed. Repair work was carried out by scarf jointing with green oak replacement sections. Upper walls were packed out with dry wall and finished with skillfully applied rolled plasterwork giving a billowing effect between the exposed beams. A steel crank beam was positioned to sure up the previously unsupported end section of the barn beneath which the new gable end window was installed.

The BarrJoinery and StuartBarrCDR teams worked closely together to design, manufacture and fit new doors and windows sympathetic to the old barn. Brick and stone window surrounds with oak lintels were rebuilt in line with the originals. Similarly stone steps to the front of the barn were sympathetically rebuilt to blend with the external aesthetic of the building.

Like the kitchen, the boot room and WC also exhibit extensive hand cut oak. The unusual block toilet seat forms part of a bench section (the images explain all!) and the coat, hat and boot store is finished with hand scribed edging to fit the old stone wall into which it sits. Every inch is built with the exacting precision which makes a piece of carpentry not just fit but actually a part of the building in which it resides.

This project called for expertise for all of the BarrGroup companies and under the watchful eye of Construction Director Chris Noonan, BarrKitchens and BarrJoinery Director Josh Hudson, Site Manager Jamie Osborne and their team of skilled tradesmen, the results of this project are truly outstanding. For full project images see links to StuartBarrCDR , BarrJoinery and BarrKitchens projects pages.  

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