Stuart Barr
Barr Joinery
Barr Kitchens

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22nd Mar 2016

A Room with a View - in the Heart of the Oxfordshire Countryside

In the later half of 2015, StuartBarrCDR and BarrKitchens had the pleasure of partnering with Richard Ross of Lee and Ross Architects, to bring to life plans for a cottage renovation in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside.

The cottage sits in an elevated position within Oxfords green belt, on the south-western edge of a pretty village. Accessed only by a footpath it's tucked away location makes it all the more delightful; the perfect hide-away.

The cottage was built c.19th Century, constructed from coursed random stonework with red brick dressings. Lee & Ross Architects were approached in January 2013 with a design brief to open up the living space and to maximise the amazing views across the valley. An upstairs bathroom, improved storage, entrance re-configuration and a new kitchen configuration and cabinetry were also required. The response was an inspiring plan following the architect’s maxim that beauty is in the detail.

A traditional bespoke oak frame porch compliments the original architecture of the cottage, making the entranceway a design feature in itself. The entrance hall, complete with clever built-in hat and coat cupboards and integrated key box, flows seamlessly into the main living area, with its wall-to-wall, west facing, oak framed glazing panels and French door set. This gives wonderful views of the surrounding countryside and floods the interior of the cottage with sunlight…. a weather watchers delight.

The tiny space, formerly occupied by the front door, was remodelled and enlarged into a corner bay, creating a snug area within the open plan ground floor space. Internally, historic features were retained and renovated such as the exposed timber beams, joists and main fireplace. The existing staircase was replaced with a contemporary open structure with oak treads, giving a visual transparency, blending the new joinery and complimenting the old.

Integrated storage has been cleverly designed to nestle into every space alcove and enclaves were designed for recesses and alcoves wherever possible to maximise storage. Modern and flush with touch opening catches, the design acts as a counterpoint to the bulk and colour of existing timbers.

A new kitchen, handmade and installed by BarrKitchens, in a simple, restrained (but non the less beautiful) design, is complemented by solid oak flooring. A larder cupboard is cleverly built into the old back stone wall, maximising space and Little Greene 'Juniper Ash' is used as a feature colour for the larder doors and internals of the glass fronted eye-line cupboards. A bespoke breakfast bar segregates the kitchen from the living space, enhancing the flow and providing the perfect perch for a glass of wine.

From a relatively modest extension the overall result is completely transformational. Light floods into the open plan living space and borrowed landscape gives the cottage a feeling of truly belonging to the hills into which it nestles. We always enjoy working on projects where our sister companies can work together. To see more images of this project click here.

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