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New Options for an Old Cottage


We were approached by our clients who wanted us to explore some options for their cottage near Bath.


Their main aim was to increase the habitable space whilst keeping the strong character of the property. Built in the late 1800's, this cottage has been extended several times over the years. Part of our brief was to respect the existing house and enhance it.


As part of our design process, we always start with a constraints and opportunities plan, to make sure we understand the context, the potentials and any restrictions to be aware of.



Floor plan showing constraints and opportunities
2A1M Constraints and Opportunities map

We were approached by our clients who wanted us to explore some options for their cottage near Bath. Their main aim was to increase the habitable space whilst keeping the strong character of the property. Built in the late 1800's, this cottage has been extended several times over the years. Part of our brief was to respect the existing house and enhance it.


As part of our design process, we always start with a constraints and opportunities plan, to make sure we understand the context, the potentials, and any restrictions to be aware of. 

The existing cottage has a very strong character. Externally, its various pitch roofs of different heights are very distinctive. Internally, narrow corridors, thick walls that once were external and a very impressive fireplace are part of the layout.

 

When progressing the concept design process, we often produce 2 or 3 main options with some sub-variants. Generally, we start from ‘small’ to ‘big’ in terms of scale and extensiveness, as we like to give our clients various options so they can make decisions in terms of costs and priorities.


The first option was a conservative one: a small single storey side extension and couple of roof / dormer extensions. This option provided our clients with the minimum space they needed, whilst minimising the extent of the works.

Structural alterations are of high importance in old buildings, as they can be quite invasive and thus, expensive. Therefore, keeping these down could likely keep the constructions costs down too.



3D Aerial view of option one
2A1M - Option one


The second option was a bit more adventurous whilst still remaining relatively conservative. The main idea was to add a single storey side extension and continuing the pitch roof theme.



3D Aerial view of option two
2A1M - Option two


And finally, the third option was an evolution from the second one. A two-storey side extension with a pitch roof to continue the same rhythm of the existing house. Detaching almost entirely the new extension from the existing house meant that the structural alterations to the existing fabric were kept to the absolute minimum. This could potentially reduce construction costs, as well as keeping the risks down that could arise from opening up the existing fabric.



3D Aerial view of option three
2A1M - Option three


Most of the ideas from our options are interchangeable. Some may work more than others, but the main objective of this first stage is to spark a conversation with our clients. After this first exercise, we aim to get a clear steer of where are we taking the design, and although some changes are still expected at this point, it is good to know the design is headed the right direction.




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