Dernford House

Extensive refurbishment of a Victorian farmhouse

One of the delights of establishing a strong local reputation is when former clients return with a subsequent project, as with Dernford House. This substantial, detached former farmhouse dates from the mid-nineteenth century, and is set in mature gardens with a paddock of more than three acres. The existing house was extensively refurbished and extended to provide an open-plan kitchen/living/dining room, five bedrooms with attendant bathrooms, three reception rooms, a study and a new detached garage and plant room with outhouses.

The client wished to be as off-grid as possible. A new water borehole was dug and a filtration system installed, and sewage is treated on site, discharging to sub-surface irrigation from a Klargester BioDisc plant. Domestic heating and hot water is provided from a biomass boiler housed in the new plant room formed as part of the new detached garage; this also accommodates a four-tonne hopper for wood pellets, providing approximately six months of fuel supply. Photovotaic panels are mounted on the roof of the plant room and garage.

Architect for Renovation and extension of a Victorian farmhouse in rural Cambridgeshire

Within the existing house, walls, floors and roofs were insulated. The layout of the rooms at both ground and first floor level have been altered to improve flow, while original features have been retained such as the fireplace which now provides the key focal point in the open-plan kitchen/living area. Here, in place of the flat ceiling new trusses were introduced to create a vaulted ceiling within the existing roof, and a small, gabled extension was added to the side to accommodate the kitchen without compromising the building’s character.

Where possible, existing sash windows have been retained, together with original stained glass, cornicing, servants bells, and of course the high ceilings. New double-glazed timber doors and windows were designed to complement the existing openings. A lovely high-end kitchen was installed and the colour scheme of the building, in conjunction with the finishes and the accessories (ironmongery, sanitary ware etc), was carefully tailored for the client after thorough discussion with our in-house interior designer.

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