Following some frustration experienced with her previous contractors, the Linton Park property manager came to us wanting a company that could work through the outstanding planning conditions and provide costs to carry out the detailed design required, following through with the complete build.
This was the first of three properties which they originally instructed us to work on, the other two being The Tractor Shed and Home Farm.
Though not large, The Potting Sheds were clearly going to make a beautiful home, with their unusual layout and structure. They enjoyed beautiful views to the front over fields and parkland with trees behind.
Prior to conversion, The Potting Sheds were effectively three buildings joined by a rear brick wall, with other structure having fallen in over time.
With glazing to the front and a code 8 lead (thick grade and high budget) roof covering, the infill elements were historically in keeping, and added significantly to the ground floor area. The damaged and missing Victorian windows and bargeboards were carefully measured and replicated in our workshops.
The Potting Sheds were situated on a flat area at the base of a hill. The floor area to the rear of the property was lower than the ground level which meant that a tanking system was required to be installed.
Tanking systems are used primarily when the floor levels of a building are below the surrounding ground level. They are designed to keep the water out, and/or allow any water that does enter the fabric of the building to drain away without causing damage to the building or its contents.
It is an additional element of work that adds moderate costs to a project but can be vital in keeping the building water-tight.
The windows, stairs, and internal doors were all bespoke, including windows to fit in the existing brick arches.
The conversion took unused agricultural buildings, transforming them into a new home with master en-suite with dressing room, guest bedroom with private bathroom, large kitchen, spacious lounge with French windows and underfloor heating throughout.
The clients were very happy with the finished conversion. So much so that they instructed us on the next project just as we were completing this one – praise indeed.
What the client said…
“Linton Park was previously The Cornwallis estate which was split up at the end of the 1970s. The mansion house has been owned by our company since 1985 and we acquired the remaining land and properties when they were sold in 2015. There were a number of barns and outbuildings which we wanted to develop and let out as rental properties. They came with planning permission but as we progressed, we lost confidence in the architects that had drawn them up, as well as the builder we were planning to use.
I first came across Vernacular Homes when I saw an advert in the Wealden Times. We needed a company that specialised in barn conversions and vernacular housing, which is exactly what they do. After looking at their website, I discussed them with our chairman, who was impressed with what he saw so we got in touch.
On our first meeting, we took them around what is now The Potting Sheds. It was a range of buildings that were linked but open. We wanted them to be turned into a unique two-bedroom house but designed differently to the current plans. Although we were working to a budget, we really wanted the property to have a high standard of finish. As well as this property, we originally appointed them to work on two others: Home Farm and The Tractor Shed. We really loved the re-worked designs.
Part of our company ethos is ‘looking after things for the future’ and that’s something they really understood. They worked with us on all the ideas, and any changes we suggested, keeping within budget but also being sympathetic to the building.
Once work started on The Potting Sheds, there were a few challenges; one of which was to find bricks that looked similar to the originals, as well as Kent peg tiles to go with the existing ones, and they matched them all really well.
The next was that they also had to bring in water supplies because the water board instructed that each property had to have its own supply. They also had to install drainage linked to the main drainage of the house but because this property was slightly lower, it had to have a small pumping station to create suitable pressure.
They’ve created a beautiful property; I particularly love the windows they made to fit the arch openings in the building. Each is slightly different to fit the gap perfectly; it enhances these original features and they look lovely. They also replicated some intricate Victorian barge boards on the roof as some were rotten – it was a really authentic restoration. It really felt like we worked on the whole project together. They came up with some very good ideas, but they were also amenable to our suggestions. I cannot praise them enough!”
Our views on the project…
“Working with Rebecca, the estate property manager, on the Potting Sheds conversion was a real pleasure. With this project, and indeed the following project on the estate, Rebecca always took the time to understand the issues and options. This meant we were always working with clear instructions which helped us all achieve a wonderful outcome.”