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1st Jul 2020

Well versed in the art of home working? We find out how some Barr Group clients and collaborators have been using their annexe spaces during lockdown.

Over the years the Barr Group have been instrumental in the creation of many an outbuilding, home office and garden annexe. In recent weeks there has been a flurry of reconnections with their recipient clients, expressing how glad they are to have gone ahead with what was, in some cases, a luxury addition to their homes. Having been enjoyed by guests and used as occasional spaces, it has been during ‘corona times’ that the annexe has been in full-time use - the salvation of work lives and family harmony!


Above; Woodland Road

A few of them were already well versed in the art of working from home. An Oxford-based screenwriter has been working from his Barr built home-office for two years now. A space that allows him to shut the world away and sink into the scripts of fictional lives. The Woodland Road annexe was designed by HollandGreen Architects as part of a whole house remodelling and extension project. The simple timber-framed structure is linked to the main house but has its own front access, WC and kitchenette facilities, giving the flexibility for use as an entirely independent living space. ThermoWood cladding was used externally due to its stable properties. This enabled the narrow sawn lengths to be set in a fine vertical shadow formation giving the annexe its own distinctive character. "I guess the best thing about the annexe is being able to finally separate my work life from my personal life. I can see the kitchen table now and there are fewer toast crumbs in my computer!" says resident screenwriter and Barr Group Client. 

Above; Woodland Road

Across Oxford, another family put their Barr annexe to triple staged super-use. Firstly, as a quarantine zone following an ill-fated overseas work trip just before lockdown. Secondly as ‘daddy’ school for the two younger members of the family and right now as a makeshift home-hospital for a family friend in recovery. Bad luck to the chickens who had been too keen to take up residence last autumn (although only Rachel remains to vie for the coop – as her feathered friends Monica and Phoebe sadly ‘flew the roost’ recently).


Above; Fern Cottage Annexe

For others, their occasional-use annexes became a ‘covi-cessity’ (noun; an essential during lockdown). This particular Barr annexe served a cosy self-contained home where an elderly mother could safely isolate, in the knowledge that mobile meals, shopping and chat through the window were all close at hand.

Above; Crinan Pod

The Barr Design Pod has been an equally valued space during a lockdown. In normal times it is the work-home of our design team but for the past twelve weeks, it has been a luxuriously spacious single person work zone for members of the team (and friends of the Barr Group) requiring a sanctuary. Calm and secluded, with a herd of inquisitive cattle for company and Wi-Fi for connectivity, it has indeed been a preserver of sanity!

Above; Barr Design Pod

Not much further afield, a designer/client has been using another Barr Group annexe creation as her studio. Meadowbrook Bothy (featured last spring in Enki magazine) with its far-reaching countryside views and calming scandi-cabin vibe, is definitely not the worse places to work out a lockdown. Clad in charcoal washed timber the Bothy was originally built as temporary family accommodation. As such it was cleverly designed to house three bedrooms, a bathroom with separate WC, an open plan kitchen/living space and veranda. There is even a tiny bespoke cat room with its own entrance!


Above; Meadowbrook Bothy

Last but certainly not least is the Upper Green Farm annexe, which has been the perfect solution to bringing extended family together safely during lockdown. It enabled meet-ups at home without anyone having to invade the main house. Grandchildren have been able to play in the garden, whilst the grownups relax un-hurried by meal times, using the annexe as a day time home-from-home.

Above; Upper Green Farm

Unsurprisingly StuartBarr CDR enquiries for stand-alone annexes, outbuilding conversions, and garden pods have increased significantly in recent weeks, presumably in line with laptop and toilet roll sales! These tend to be projects managed by our 'Direct to Client' service, often coming within permitted development rights, getting underway quickly and achieving completion in 3-6 months from commencement. Our DTC team would be happy to meet to discuss your annexe scheme, should you be planning a garden build venture.

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