Grade II listed building renovation

Following the move into Bury St. Edmunds’ mediaeval grid, our clients approached us to develop a scheme that looked at enhancing the existing living and utilitarian spaces throughout the property. The clients aspired towards a cohesive and open planned layout to the ground floor, with additional utility and en-suite requirements throughout.

A single-storey extension with a glazed roof lantern was incorporated to infill a small courtyard garden. This enabled the reorganisation of a restrictive ground floor layout. It also created a spacious, open and naturally lit kitchen and dining area in the middle of the building and boasting a magnificent snippet view into the rear garden.

In working closely with existing features and drawing upon local vernacular and historic building knowledge within the practice, we were able to retain an exposed section of the Grade II Listed flint, brick and Abbey stone garden wall. To do this, precautions had to be undertaken with the aim of reducing the risk of damp. This included carefully considered radiator positioning and output, lead flashings installation, natural and mechanical ventilation, and ensuring the materials specified were breathable and natural. The result is a stunning amalgamation of historic and modern architecture, exemplified by feature lights fitted at ground level. This accentuates the importance of the flintwork wall and draws the attention to the wall’s texture, a stark comparison to the otherwise modern aesthetic.

The basement had potential with its stunning part-exposed walls, floors and historic timber beams, but it was draughty, damp and had an SVP pipe running through it. We were asked to explore these issues, whilst maintaining the existing feeling of the space. The result transpired into a utility, which incorporated a fully glazed pavement panel with in-built ventilation, replacing the rusted iron grid. Carefully detailed loose laid flooring and ventilation were installed behind and within the cabinets, enabling the existing floor to be fully retained and ventilated, in addition to repurposing the existing kitchen cupboards, worktop and flooring.

Another challenge was to work with the existing space to fit an en suite into what was a wardrobe. This area had a tiny footprint of just 2.45m2 (26 square foot). However, due to the chimney shape, one of the primary walls sloped significantly outwards making the room feel much larger when standing within the space. The existing rooflight also aided with the idea of spaciousness, adding natural light, additional height, and ventilation into the space. By working closely with the clients and carefully considering product sizes and placement, we created a fully tiled en suite shower room for the master bedroom, which feels as though it was always part of the property.

In undertaking these sensitive and considered alterations, the overall usability and layout of this family home has increased phenomenally, generally creating a home suited to modern needs and requirements, whilst enhancing and incorporating the rich history and existing characteristics of the Grade II Listed, 17th century building.