Townsend Farmhouse

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Client
Location
East Devon
Photography
Richard Downer
Our clients needed an architect in East Devon to provide them with a Full Architectural Service for their kitchen extension to a Grade II* listed thatched house in East Devon..

van Ellen + Sheryn were approached by the owners of a Grade II* listed house in East Devon, with the wish to improve and extend their home into the substantial garden setting. The existing kitchen provision was cramped; with low ceilings, poor layout, and no connection to the views out towards the Blackdown hills. The house is historically important in the local area, with areas of thirteenth century timber structure in the roof. However, it had been unsympathetically adapted and extended on the garden elevation in the past, and the owners wished to remove these additions and create something new and unique whilst respecting the heritage and quality of the existing thatch and stone house.

We soon arrived at the solution of a twisting thatch roof that extends out into the garden and rises up at one corner to provide volume and clear views out to the garden and countryside. An oak truss structure, cleverly engineered, would cantilever and ‘hang’ the roof over a corner of structural glass and slimline glazing – combining very modern techniques and materials with the very traditional forms of thatch and timber frame. Chert (local flint) stone walls would extend out from the house and provide a buttress to this roof form, and a further material reference back to the original house.

Whilst this is yet to be realised, we feel it a design of unique quality and character, and hope to explore a similar approach if the opportunity were to arise again.

Van Ellen and Sheryn always deliver a friendly, professional, service and do their upmost to see away through the demands of their clients, the natural constraints of any particular site, the budget constraints that may exist, and the expectations of the relevant Local Authority. It can be the case that the desires of a client are not matched by a Local Authority, this can result in adaptations to enable planning permission, Van Ellen and Sheryn always show patience and creativity in trying to overcome such problems. As a planning consultant and historic building consultant I have always enjoyed working alongside Van Ellen and Sheryn and found them efficient and reliable in delivering projects for their clients. My observation is that their clients also have enjoyed working with them and this is best substantiated by the repeat business and positive recommendations I have witnessed them receive. They create attractive solutions and have a sound appreciation of the hurdles often faced in securing planning permission and delivering a scheme, to aid this they have contact with an array of consultants who provide associated services to support development, this includes practices and professionals in the fields of planning, ecology, engineering, ground surveying, drainage etc.

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