Posts

, ,
Turning historical character into modern living

Written by Cassidy Perkin


Agricultural buildings hold an important place in the history of the UK and hold a special place in my heart. Being able to protect, and future-proof these buildings is something that that I am passionate about. An incredible example of this can be found in a barn beautifully converted in Chagford. This barn shows modern, contemporary renovations and updates while still skilfully incorporating the historical features that give the barn character and historical qualities. I love how a balance and blend of modern living and functionality can be achieved be breathing new life into older barns that no longer have an agricultural use.

The barn is constructed of a gorgeous pale stone used locally on many other properties, and this stonework has been retained and restored as a clear attractive design feature, with exposure inside, and outside the building. This natural stone finish paired with the natural slate roofing pays homage to the heritage of the previously agricultural barn. Mixed sympathetically into the roofing are conservation rooflights that allow natural light into the first floor with modern fittings that still consider the setting and relationship with the local history. I love how the existing fabric of the barn is used as a strong feature rather than a constraint. These features combined set the barn as a harmonious aspect of the surrounding landscape and local area.

There are many reasons why people choose to convert barns and this project demonstrates many of these reasons through its location, character, attractive open plan living, and sustainability through avoiding making a completely new home. Seen in the below pictures, historical features can be skilfully weaved into the fabric of the building the conversion can become and provide eye-catching design features that leave clues into the buildings past, while clearly showing its future as a stylish family home.

If you own an agricultural building that you want to convert, the Class Q legislation may enable this without needing full planning permission. However, it is important to note that there are a few requirements that your build must meet. Nevertheless, as proven by this beautiful home, a barn conversion will allow you to create a space that is unique to your surroundings. For more information on Class Q legislation or enquiries about a barn conversion, feel free to email us at studio@livingspacearchitects.com.

, ,

Amendments To the Class Q Permitted Development Right (May 2024)

The UK Government has introduced significant changes to the Class Q permitted development right, which facilitates the conversion of agricultural buildings into dwellings. These amendments will take effect from 21st May 2024. While the increase in the maximum allowable dwellings from five to ten has grabbed headlines, there are several other key points to consider. Let’s explore them:

1. Increased Allowance and Floorspace

  • The maximum number of dwellings that can be created within an agricultural unit has doubled, now allowing up to ten dwellings.
  • The maximum floorspace for new dwellings has been set at 1,000 sq.m.
  • However, individual dwellings cannot exceed 150 sq.m in size.

2. New Build Single-Storey Rear Extensions

  • You can now add a single-storey rear extension (up to 4m) to your converted barn, provided it is on an existing hardstanding.
  • This extension can enhance the functionality and living space of your dwelling.

3. Qualification Criteria for Barns

  • To take advantage of the permitted development right, your barn must meet specific criteria:
    • Land Use History: The site must have been part of an established agricultural unit on or before 24th July 2023. Even if the barn is no longer in agricultural use, it may still qualify if it remains part of an established agricultural unit.
    • Access and Space Standards: Barns must have suitable access to a public highway and comply with nationally prescribed minimum space standards.
    • Protected Areas: Certain barns, such as those in listed buildings, Conservation Areas, or National Landscapes (formerly AONBs), cannot benefit from Class Q.
    • Seek professional advice to determine if your barn qualifies under the new criteria.

4. Transitional Arrangements

  • If you’re considering a larger dwelling (exceeding 150 sq.m), there’s good news! The amended legislation provides a ‘window of opportunity’ until 21st May 2025 for those wishing to apply under the previous Class Q criteria.
  • This allows flexibility for specific circumstances.

In Summary

While the headlines focus on increased dwelling allowances, it’s essential to understand the nuances of the new legislation. If you’re planning a barn conversion, seek professional advice to navigate the process effectively.

For bespoke advice related to the Class Q changes and their implications for your development projects, feel free to get in touch with us at Living Space Architects. We’re here to assist you! 🌟

Remember, each barn has its unique story waiting to be transformed into a beautiful home! 🏡✨

,

Riverside Revival: A Family Dream Comes True in Starcross

Nestled along the picturesque banks of the River Exe lies Exeleigh Lodge, a hidden gem waiting to be rediscovered. What was once a charming but tired bungalow is about to undergo a remarkable transformation into a contemporary riverside haven for a young family. Join us on this captivating journey as we unveil the story behind this exciting first floor extension project that promises to breathe new life into Starcross.


Discovering Potential

Exeleigh Lodge captured the hearts of our clients with its idyllic location and breathtaking river views. Situated on the tranquil south coast of Devon, this sprawling property boasts a canopied garden and easy access to Exeter and the Torbay area. Despite its enchanting surroundings, the lodge required some TLC to fulfil its potential as a modern family home.


A Collaborative Vision

Enter Living Space Architects, entrusted with the task of retaining the lodge’s character while infusing it with contemporary flair. From the outset, collaboration was key as our clients shared their vision through Pinterest boards, paving the way for a truly bespoke design journey. Led by Ellen, our PassivHaus Designer and architect, and Kirsty, our conservation accredited architect, our team embarked on a creative exploration to marry tradition with innovation.


Navigating Challenges

The journey wasn’t without its hurdles, with the lodge’s proximity to listed building presenting a unique set of challenges. However, with expert guidance from a planning consultant, and input from ecologists and arboricultural surveyors, along with enthusiastic input from our clients, our proposals struck the perfect balance between preservation and progress.


Designing for Tomorrow

The culmination of our efforts is a sleek, pitched roof extension that seamlessly integrates with the existing structure. Featuring a spacious family room with panoramic estuary views, a cosy wood-burning stove, and eco-conscious elements such as solar shading, a PV array, and triple glazing, the design reflects our clients’ commitment to sustainability and comfort.


A Triumph in Planning

With bated breath, we awaited the outcome of our planning submission. To our delight, approval came swiftly and seamlessly. Thanks to our collaborative approach and meticulous attention to detail, Exeleigh Lodge’s transformation received the green light, paving the way for a bright future by the river.


Looking Ahead

As we eagerly prepare for the next chapter, our focus turns to bringing the design to life. Technical drawings are underway, signalling the start of construction this summer. Keep an eye out for our signboard as you wander along the riverside, and join us in celebrating the rebirth of Exeleigh Lodge – a testament to the power of vision, collaboration, and the unwavering dedication to creating home that capture the imagination and inspire generations to come.

,

Starting your PassivHaus project

Wow! The end of 2023 and beginning of 2024 has been busy for us here at Living Space Architects, and despite our best intentions, we could not keep up with the Blog Posts recording Ellen’s progress through the training for the PassivHaus Designer course.

2024 has bought excellent news for Ellen and the team at Living Space Architects, passing the exam with flying colours and confirming Ellen’s status as a fully qualified PassivHaus Designer!

What is PassivHaus?

What does this mean for our clients?

Ellen is now qualified to provide the expertise required to realise your PassivHaus aspirations. Whether you are looking to uplift your project’s eco status, or take it to the next level of comfort with a PassivHaus, we are here to help you.

So are you dreaming of a low energy, high performance, comfortable home with low heating bills? Get in contact to start your PassivHaus journey!

,

PassivHaus with Living Space Architects – Week 2

Week Two has focused on solar gains and internal gains.

Solar gains (using the sun to warm up) look at window placement, design, size, and shading. Getting these aspects right will help balance your solar gains (warming up the building) against your heat loss through the windows – windows do not insulate as well as walls.

There are lots of things to consider here – do we want solar shading, where should the shading be, do we want openable windows, do we want blinds, where do we want our windows? Openable windows are desirable, but security, external noise or even just stopping the pets from escaping could stop you! Blinds are helpful in reducing glare and increasing privacy, but internal blinds will not stop the glass itself from heating up, and maybe we want to maximise our views out.

Internal gains refer to everything else inside the building (apart from the heating system) that can warm the building up. This will include how many people are in the building, what type, and the number of appliances in use. The internal gains will change dramatically based on how the building is being used – is it a home, a school, or an office building?

We make assumptions about occupancy and build these into our calculations with a generous buffer to ensure that the comfort of the occupants is maximised while reducing reliance on space heating.

Lessons Learnt

The lesson from this week has been the need to talk to our clients really early to understand how they want to live and work in their homes and PassivHaus projects. Everybody lives in slightly different ways; some people sleep with the window open, some people need complete silence; some have vegetable plots and want extra freezers to store their produce; some families work from home with extensive office setups; some people bought their home for the view, and don’t want to spoil these with blinds and curtains.

So tell us how you want to live, because every detail is important to us and will help ensure your PassivHaus will reflect you.

, ,

Transforming a building which transforms lives…

Since our last post on the Salvation Army, the project has made great progress and exciting things have been happening. We are eager to share the next stage of our work, as the team here at LSA have been working hard with their design caps on. From exterior to interior, the design process is now well underway for the redesign of Friars’ Walk.

In our previous post, we highlighted the importance of the building’s history and how the Salvation Army has had a great impact on our society here in Exeter. Friars’ Walk is home to a thriving community, and we believe that the people at Salvation Army are taking the right steps towards the future of this building.

We knew from the outset that the interior spaces required a high-quality design strategy, and we intended each space to bring something new and different to the renovation of this building. This raised a range of considerations, from the function of each space down to the quality of finishes used. The style of design had to be sympathetic to the building’s past, but also needed to enhance and be conducive to modern life. The renovation is partly intended to act as a means of attracting people to use the building, and better appreciate all it has to offer. Opening up the interior spaces allows the building to be versatile, in keeping with its use as a site of varied activities. Below are some of our initial 3D views of the new interior spaces:

Chapel Space looking back on to Entrance Cafe
Chapel Space
Entrance Cafe
New Entrance Area
Basement Area
First Floor Area

First Floor area from double height space

The future is looking bright for Friars’ Walk. We feel privileged to be working with the Salvation Army, and hope that we can offer them something special which will keep their community thriving. This is only the start – so stay on the lookout for updates on what unfolds next!

Extending a small family home with simple techniques and impressive results

This project is the perfect example of a house that really has become a home.

Jill and James McDowell came to us wanting to give their property in Earl Richards a contemporary revamp. Having been in the family for years, they were not prepared to part ways with their wonderful house, but realised it was time for it to be modernised and opened up to make best use of space and the garden- especially with grandchildren now scurrying around.

They wanted to extend the kitchen and link the dining area to the garden, opening up the inside and creating more space and light. As the property was relatively small, we were able to use fairly simple and low-cost techniques to meet these needs in an innovative and attractive way.

“It was great, as we could apply ideas usually used on larger projects and adapt them to this smaller design” said Kirsty Curnow-Bayley, a Living Space Architect who worked on the project.  “We used simple techniques to create really interesting spaces”.


Below you can see the finished work: seamless access to the garden, great views and a pleasant, bright kitchen space within. Jill and James were delighted with the results.


Portfolio Items