Vernacular Homes Ltd

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Draper Barn Main Image

Turning an old agricultural building into a home can be a very rewarding experience but it is not easy to find people who fully understand what is involved with both planning and building, writes Richard Shepherd-Baron.

However, Alan and Sue Draper did indeed find such a company when they set about developing an old Kentish barn at Great Chart, near Ashford. Initially, things did not go well for them with the original architect they employed as it became quickly obvious that planning permission was going to be a big problem. So Alan looked at a mailing flyer that he had received and turned to Vernacular Homes, also based near Ashford who are design and build specialists. Their directors, Trevor Weeks and Edward Burgess, ably assisted by highly qualified Master Architectural designer Nicola Hem, soon sorted out the problems. Barn conversions need major structural alterations to comply with modern regulations including the recently increased specifications in respect of insulation. A key element in Vernacular Homes’ work is in getting the planning permission done correctly and to everyone’s satisfaction. Trevor Weeks said: “£6,000 spent on careful planning work can result in a property value gain of £100 – 150,000 and that’s the reality of property value!”

Draper Barn Before Conversion
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Work started on the old timber building just before Christmas 2005 – there was a corrugated iron roof to strip (the barn was tiled originally) and full scaffolding to erect as the entire building was covered with protective sheeting. Work continued apace and the Drapers moved into their attractive house in October last year they could have actually moved earlier but there were severe delays in a new mains electricity connection. Alan Draper commented: “The enthusiastic and highly skilled team worked really well together, obviously being used to working with each other. I was very happy to use a “one-stop-shop” company who did absolutely everything on site, including designing, building and installing bathrooms and the kitchen – the complete package. The designer, Nicola, had some really refreshing ideas and was great to work with”. He added: “They even helped us hang our many pictures!”.

Vernacular Homes started in 2000 when Trevor Weeks and Edward Burgess decided to go on their own after 20 years of experience in the construction industry. Vernacular are very much specialists in quality new building, barn conversions, extensions to quality homes and worthwhile high-quality restoration work.

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There is an office and management staff of seven and sixteen permanent building staff with sub-contractors employed as required. Trevor Weeks said: “I’ve been working with one of the joiners on and off for over twenty years.” Vernacular Homes take health and safety seriously and were second in the premier league of Kent’s construction safety league for February.

Purchase Barn, in its attractive garden setting, is a fine example of a top quality barn conversion – a beautiful building which gives both builder and owner an immense sense of achievement and pride. Alan and Sue Draper are so pleased with their new house that Vernacular are now doing a further barn conversion nearby for their son-in-law.

(This article is reproduced courtesy of South East Farmer magazine)

Please contact us to discuss your design or build project

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Please feel free to get in contact with us to discuss any aspect of your project. You can do this by emailing us or by calling Trevor Weeks, who is one of our directors on 01233 861177.

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