Client: Bryan and Pippa Hart
Style: Arts and Crafts
Build time: 2 years
Pippa and Bryan Hart spent years battling with planners to build their six-bedroom house with a full basement in an AONB within the Green Belt.
After purchasing a decidedly unattractive 1950s house in Buckinghamshire, Pippa and Bryan originally considered remodelling it yet later decided to knock it down and rebuild. Even though the planners would happily have allowed them to add another 50 per cent in size to the existing house, they were less supportive about the idea of a larger new build and a number of planning applications had to be submitted before they could finally go ahead. In fact the Harts made a total of 10 different planning applications over a period of six years, gradually increasing the size of the proposed dwelling in stages and adding a basement level.
“The planning process was long and tortuous, and even then we didn’t get absolutely everything we wanted,” Pippa explains.
Externally, the planners wanted the oak frame to remain concealed, so that the house would appear more in keeping with other buildings in the area. Inside however, the oak frame was to be displayed with maximum effect and they appointed Welsh Oak Frame to bring their dream home to life.
“We had spent years meticulously planning exactly what we wanted in terms of the look and layout of the house, but Welsh Oak Frame were still able to make suggestions which enhanced the design and added to the magic” says Bryan.
Welsh Oak Frame’s design team was able to solve numerous issues, including creating a vaulted entrance hall below a roofline – building part of the roof structure using softwood and adding decorative oak inside. “We had to match the roof pitch of the old house, and couldn’t go any higher, so it was a clever solution,” explains Pippa.
Externally the house has been clad with beautiful handmade bricks and handmade roof tiles were selected to compliment the brickwork. The house features 36 timber casement windows including full height, leaded windows in the vaulted dining hall.
“Project managing the build was the most challenging thing we have ever done, but we had the most amazing support from Welsh Oak Frame, who held our hands every step of the way and would send sketches to illustrate the more intricate details”.
No detail has been overlooked, from the reclaimed hand-cut Yorkstone flooring to the handmade forged iron curtain poles with their oak leaf detailing.
“Building this house has consumed many years of our lives, and became a kind of obsession, but we have absolutely no regrets. It felt like home from the day we moved in and living here definitely makes up for all the hard work”