Extending a listed building to include a new kitchen
Originally built in the 17th century as a gardener’s cottage, this charming Grade II Listed property is set within Canterbury’s Conservation Area and an Area of Natural Beauty (AONB). With idyllic views of rolling hills and open countryside, this house sits beautifully within its landscape.
The owners instructed us to design an extension to their listed cottage with the vision to create a home office and a larger open-plan kitchen and dining area. As the cottage is Grade II listed and within a sensitive location, preserving the historic fabric and character of the building was of utmost importance.
The two-storey extension was particularly complex because ground had to be excavated from beneath the historic first floor to extend the ground floor under the whole footprint of the house.
The result is a spacious and attractive extension, which seamlessly blends into the historical cottage. The traditional form, materials, and quality of construction elevate the original building and complement its presence within the landscape.
Choosing a Specialist Kent-based Architecture Practice
After speaking with multiple architecture practices, the owners instructed us because of our extensive knowledge and experience in the extension and adaptation of historic buildings, in and around Kent. They were impressed by our project portfolio, our knowledge of specific planning policies relevant to their site and our enthusiasm for caring for historic buildings.
The Grade II Listed Building Extension Brief
The cottage is a traditional timber-framed building with brick casing, a tile roof with brick stacks and casement windows. The house has beautiful interior ceiling beams and a garden with a remarkable circular brick pathway of a donkey pump. When we first visited the house, it was obvious great care and consideration had been taken over the years to keep it in good condition but our clients require more space for modern living.
The main requirement was to provide a larger living space and allow for plenty of natural light to enter the dining area. As one of the owners is a passionate gardener, it was also important to connect the garden with the house. We worked closely with the clients to detail exactly how they envisioned their new space to be.
Listed Building Consent for Extension to Listed Building
To meet the brief, we designed a sympathetic two-storey extension maximising views out to the garden and the beautiful surrounding countryside. We submitted a detailed heritage statement to support our planning and listed building application which was later granted by the local authority.
Our cohesive design, detailed heritage statement and extensive expertise in navigating the planning process assisted towards obtaining Planning and Listed Building Consent for the two-storey extension.
Building an Extension to a Grade II Listed Cottage
The extension retains all the 17th century fabric located in the north-east corner of the house which helps balance and re-establish the character and unique qualities of the house.
The extension extends forward to the ground floor to create a breakfast room and provide more space to the existing kitchen. The ground floor was missing in the south-east corner, which is why the scheme was especially complex. The ground had to be excavated from beneath the historic first floor of the house to extend the ground floor under the whole of the footprint. This side of the house was originally submerged into the retaining garden.
One side of the extension remains underground and so to retain the walls detailing we instructed a specialist contractor to waterproof them. The specialist contractor carried out temporary works to support the first floor while the excavation took place. To assist the construction of a new kitchen wall, new piles were set up to retain the ground.
The historic significance of the site and the large areas of excavation meant there was a potential for archeological remains to be found on the property. The planners requested for us to provide a ‘Watching Brief’ – a record of any archaeological remains found during development. This involved the presence of a qualified archeologist on site during groundwork to identify, investigate, and record any archeological finds. Fortunately, nothing was found so there were no delays.
The materials we specified reference those of the 17th century cottage to perfectly blend the extension into the original building. These include:
- Matching brick and tile-hanging for the walls
- Kent peg clay tiles for the roof
- Oak for the internal support beams
- Cast iron for the rainwater goods
- York stone for paving
- Painted oak timber for the double-glazed casement windows
Finally, a glazed green oak frame extension with full height glazing has been built using traditional techniques and creates a bright breakfast area.
The External Terracing And Landscaping
As part of the garden bank had to be removed to build the extension, we proposed a gradual terracing using paving and planting. To improve the look of the south-west corner of the cottage after the works, we specified building a new garden wall and re-laying the path and steps leading to the house entrance. The meticulous landscaping work ensured the new area fits perfectly with the existing garden and house.
Design and Construction
The works took seven months to complete. The build is of striking high quality, executed by skilful and accomplished contractors. The result is a spacious and attractive extension, which seamlessly blends into the historic cottage. The traditional form, materials, and quality of construction elevate the original building and complement its presence within the landscape.
As a full-service architecture firm, we provided all stages of the RIBA Scope of Work, which included Concept Design, Planning and Listed Building Consent, Technical Design, Building Regulations, Specification and Tendering, and Contract Administration. We acted as Lead Consultant and as Contractor Administrator to ensure the build met our specification of works.
The Client’s Feedback
The owners lived at the cottage throughout the works and attended all site progress meetings. They are delighted with how the extension and landscaping have blended into their surroundings. So much so that they commented: “We believe the project has been a true success and one that we can all look back on and be proud to have been part of the team that brought it to fruition.”
The historic and sensitive fabric of this charming Cottage remains untouched, while its setting within the landscape has been enhanced.