The Stables and Coach House, neglected for decades, had walls creeping towards collapse and rotten beams threatening to fail. Sunlight struggled through dusty windows and cobwebs to reveal glimpses of treasures within; a pinky-grey Pennant stone floor, giant Oak floorboards, worn timber and iron stable partitioning and hay racks all survived. Our client, a polo player has a natural affinity with the history and patina of the old stables and sought to create an open plan entertaining space away from their main house with a relaxed living space as a counterpoint to the formality of their Georgian house and its grand rooms. Our brief was for luxurious informality, whilst keeping the sense of timelessness of the stable and coach house.
A detailed condition survey was undertaken with a Structural Engineer which informed the elements that could be left in place, required repair or as last resort, replaced. We sought initially to make the building structurally sound, which required the careful weaving of steel around existing timbers to strengthen timbers and prevent walls moving further. The detail for this steel is honestly celebrated but and crafted so as to resonate with the whole. The buildings were all reroofed with the original slates, stone walls repaired and pointed with lime. To allow the building to breath we used timber fibre insulation finished with a lime plaster, which gives a softer finish than modern gypsum plaster.
Where possible we re-laid stone floors; in the stables we replaced concrete with a new underfloor heated stone floor which, matched the original in colour and texture to bring a continuity to the whole. The old oak boards were carefully cleaned, waxed and buffed to reveal their true colour and texture, whilst they bow and twist and would be condemned in any new build, retaining original elements such as these and taking the time to give them new life, brings more to the whole than the simpler solution of boarding over. The original partitions were similarly repaired and bring a richness to the room with their time-worn rough texture and practically support the stairs while also separating the kitchen and stairs from the main living space.
Lighting consists of minimal fixed lights that are focused where essential in bathrooms and kitchens but otherwise utilises chandeliers and floor and wall lamps, this at night gives a warmth and flexibility depending on whether a film is being watched as a couple or hosting a small supper party. We have become experts in hiding all the technology we are reliant and here we tucked all the media and security systems out of sight but made them accessible so the space can double as a home office as required.