Vernacular Homes - extension and renovation - West Kent, Sussex, Surrey

Extension & Renovation – West Kent

“We’d been living in the house for about four years and although it was in good condition, it was quite dated. It was also separated into lots of different rooms, and we really wanted to open it up and change the footprint by linking it to the barn.

“We’d already spoken to two or three architects and had actually taken one on, but it didn’t quite feel right, so that’s when we approached Vernacular Homes. The fact that they take care of everything from the architectural side, through to all the trades was really appealing.

“They started out by asking us to focus on our top three requirements – lots of light, a more open feeling, and to connect to the barn on two levels. We really liked that although they had lots of suggestions, they were very open to our ideas and listened to what we wanted; we didn’t feel like we had a big flashy architect telling us what to do – it felt very collaborative.

“We were very particular about preserving the character of the property in certain areas; we didn’t want everything to look brand new. So, although the downstairs of the barn looks like a lovely modern room, which is what we wanted, they retained the beams in the house and two inglenook fireplaces, and the exterior has remained in keeping with its age. Even the radiators look just as they should and we chose French doors, rather than bi-folding, which fit the look of the house.

“The biggest challenge by far was joining the barn to the house; it was very labour intensive and therefore the most expensive part of the build by far. However, from the start, they were very precise and open about the budget; there was negligible movement on every cost they’d estimated, meaning we didn’t overspend at all.

“I can honestly say we found them extraordinary to work with. Everything was so timely and planned well. We knew in advance exactly when we would need to decide about things like paint colours and bathroom fittings, so we never felt like we were being made to make last minute decisions. We’d have meetings every couple of weeks or so, and nothing was too much trouble; we could edit the plans in situ, within reason, which was really helpful. It’s quite stressful, taking on such a large project; I didn’t anticipate how hectic it would be picking fittings for six bathrooms, but they were great at taking piecemeal information from us, which really helped.

“We’ve only been living in the house for around three weeks and we love it. It’s everything they said it would be and more. One of the things I love is the staircase; we had two in the original property, but they turned it into one and it’s a lovely feature that connects the barn to the house.

“They’ve already been back once to check everything and take care of the first snag list; I feel I can call on them at any time. We’ve been singing their praises and have already recommended them to multiple people.

“We definitely got what we wanted; it’s a dream build that we want to live in forever.”

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