10th Jul 2017
As a stylist by profession, Barr Group client Caroline has a wonderful eye for lines and materials. Although a London architectural firm did a wonderful job working up the drawings for the barn style annex, in terms of form and structure, much of the detail input came from Caroline herself.
The symmetry of rooflines was key to making the contemporary annex 'belong' to the old farmhouse it sits against. The pitch of the annex matches that of the original thatched building; the two contrasting and complimenting each other in the same breath. "I gave the architects the brief of an oak timber-framed building that was modern, very light and airy with large glass doors to the garden." says Caroline. "It needed to be harmonious and not competitive with the old-world charm of the farmhouse. They came up with a design that I really liked, especially the timber ceiling and the side wall cleverly bringing added space into the room. The oak cladding was their suggestion, and I decided the wall should be stone over cost-saving brick… and I’m so glad as this was worth the extra expense!”
Although Caroline remains steadfastly modest about her own talent and input, the internal layout and design, down to the very last fixing and furnishing, were the absolute yield of her vision. “My contribution" says Caroline "was the interior re-working of the architect's original plans and the design of the surrounding patio area. I needed to move away from the more utilitarian design and layout provided by the architects and wanted to soften the overall appearance. I had an enormous amount of input from the Barr Group team – they were amazing!. In particular the site manager (Chris Ellis) and carpenter (Tom Shanks), who made many invaluable suggestions and were able to advise on where to source many of the materials and give guidance as to whether my ideas would work or not.
"I used Pinterest a lot for illustrating my ideas and Google for sourcing materials etc. I found the floor stone in Wales (it was a worthwhile visit to their warehouse to choose the right one). The wood burning stove was also an important item to get right (it is a key the focal point from every part of the annex); it took a lot of research online, as did the bathroom tiles. Having a stylists background did help in being able to visualise the look I wanted to achieve. I am used to having to do research and drawing plans etc. for room sets. The StuartBarr CDR team were able to interpret my drawings and make them work!
“As to use and function of the space…. Its planning began mainly to achieve a studio for my photographic work, but as time went on it became clear it would be much more than that. It has become a great family space, with a mezzanine bedroom area, which is perfect for when the Australian side (of the family) visit. It is also a lovely entertaining area and perfect for all of the grandchildren, with their Lego building projects, parties etc. I will eventually move my photographic work out there, but hope to get a link (to the house) built before I do this!”. The annex also includes a bathroom and galley kitchen making it a totally self-contained unit if required.
BarrJoinery and StuartBarr CDR enjoyed working together on this fabulous project. The stunning building with its unusual oak beam structure and huge garden facing glazing panel perfectly showcases made to measure cabinetry, built in drawer units, day beds and cupboards, all of which add to the oneness of the multiuse, largely open plan space. Thank you Caroline, for allowing us to share your build story and for being such a fantastic client!