Client: Simon & Tracey Cooper
Style: Traditional oak frame manor style home
Build time: 2.5 years
Simon and Tracey Cooper are really pleased with their Welsh Oak Frame home in Staffordshire and are particularly delighted with the design of the vaulted ceilings and glazing at the back house. “I love the exterior too,” adds Simon. “Often houses can look flat but we wanted our home to look interesting from every angle so there’s literally a surprise around every corner.”
The traditional style of the property was all part of the plan to build a house in keeping with the area, on a plot that in the past had struggled to get planning approval.
“The people we brought the land from had been trying to get planning permission for years but without any success,” Simon explains. “It was tricky for us too but we made sure the design and quality of the build, plus the scale and proportion of the house, worked with the landscape of the Conservation area.”
The Coopers plot is down a private road in the grounds of an old manor house surrounded by old brick walls, close to a river and an old watermill. From the start Simon knew they would build in oak: not only because he’s an advocate but because he’s an experienced builder and has built many oak-framed houses for customers over the years.
“Oak is natural and sustainable but the intricacy and the detail is amazing too,” enthuses Simon. “Oak gives a lovely warm feeling to a house and has so much character you don’t need to go over the top with furniture.”
Simon’s skilled workmanship has been recognised through articles in the national press and Homebuilding & Renovating magazine. He was also awarded Builder of the Year at the Build It awards in the 1990s. On one occasion, even Prince Charles was keen to see the work Simon was doing.
“I was building an oak-framed house and Prince Charles happened to be at a shooting event nearby,” says Simon. “He spotted the house from a distance and knocked on the door to ask if he could have a look. I chatted to him for about 15 minutes and it was one of the most surreal experiences of my life!”
Understandably, Simon was keen to build his own oak-framed house but after careful thought, he decided to outsource the oak frame stage of the project to us instead. “Building an oak frame by hand takes a long time,” he explains. “I wanted to work with a company who was down-to-earth and good at making the building work for us so I chose Welsh Oak Frame. They looked at my design, put it into a 3D format and made suggestions like the vaulted ceiling in the hallway, which looks fantastic and enhanced the ideas we’d already put together.”
The Coopers focused on creating home with character using new and reclaimed building materials. “We wanted the house to look like it had always been here and had just been extended over a number of years,” Simon explains.
Simon and Tracey’s house was finished after a ten-year journey that began when they first saw the plot – but the time it’s taken to get here has been worth all their efforts. “I’m a perfectionist but there aren’t many things I would change about our home,” says Simon. “There’s a warm tactile ambience when you walk in, like walking into an antique shop, and it’s lovely living in this setting. We’ve shown a few people around our house too and we haven’t hesitated to recommend Welsh Oak Frame.”