Refurbishment and extension of an 18th century Dartmoor farmstead to provide a large, contemporary family home

Refurbishment and extension of an 18th century Dartmoor farmstead to provide a large, contemporary family home

Architects: van Ellen + Sheryn
Location: Dartmoor National Park, United Kingdom
Year: 2013
Area: 4.305 ft²/ 400 m²
Photo courtesy: Richard Downer Photography

“The clients brief was to refurbish and extend an 18th century Dartmoor farmstead to provide a large, contemporary family home that makes the most of the 60 acre wooded valley setting. An important wish was for as self-sufficient a dwelling as possible, with a carefully considered environmental approach.

Although the buildings were not listed, as they were located within the conservation area of North Bovey and the National Park, so a key consideration was their respectful refurbishment and extension. The modern interventions were well received by the local planning authority, who praised the clarity and separation between old and new.

After stripping away the sprawl of incoherent 1950’s extensions between the farmhouse and barn, the qualities of the original building cluster could be appreciated and subsequently added to. To provide the level of accommodation required by the family, a single storey steel framed glass structure was inserted between the farmhouse and barn. This served a number of purposes; it created a new heart to the building housing a contemporary kitchen and sitting room with direct access to the outside gardens, and acted as the main circulation route between the farmhouse, the barn, and the garden. The original buildings provided the more intimate living spaces and sleeping quarters.

The milking parlour to the west of the farmhouse and barn would provide the annex accommodation required. Half of the brick and stone building was demolished, and a glass and green-oak framed structure replaced the southern part facing onto the garden. This provided a double height entertaining space, whilst sleeping accommodation was located within the original section. The building was tied through with a new standing seam zinc roof that references the agricultural heritage of the plot.

The extensive surrounding woodland provides a renewable supply of fuel for the four wood burning stoves located throughout the property which would act as the main heat source. A 500sqm ground source heat pump array supplies under-floor heating throughout as secondary all-year-round heating. Electrical usage is offset by a PV array on an adjacent Dutch barn’s roof, and solar thermal panels provide much of the hot water requirement of the household.

The drainage design combines a package treatment plant with natural reed beds to process foul sewage, which enters the existing stream and pond system on-site. Surface water is similarly discharged into the existing water course, and buffered through a series of ponds and weirs to ease and additional run-off created.

The finished project has brought a dilapidated farmstead back into the 21st century whilst reinstating its historical character and the home will adapt to the changing family lifestyle of the family whilst fulfilling the strong self-sufficient ethic of the client.”

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