The house on the drawing board
The Ditton Corner project - to convert an old house into an acceptible family home - ran from late 1999 to early 2001.
Stage 1 was the emergency work, to make sure there would be a house waiting for us in the spring. While this was going on, Stage 2 was in planning - the work to turn it into our family home.
We had lots of ideas. But of course, you can't just carve up old buildings: you need Planning Permission, Building Regulation clearance, and (if you're really unlucky) Listed Building Consent. In the course of a few weeks, we worked through many many schemes - and talked to a lot of people - to make sure that we ended up with a house that we and the authorities were happy with.
After creating a set of presentation drawings to submit for Planning Permission, and getting them passed in record time, Helen produced the package of working drawings describing the actual construction. Our friend Katie Thornburrow drew up the specification for the work and administered the contract.
The old house was pretty radically rebuilt. A lot of structural steel went into reducing its earthquake vulnerability and we thought some floors and a roof might also be useful. We put a big rooflight in the centre of the house and built a lot more toilets (well you can never have too many, can you?) in a couple of new extension pieces.
House under construction 27 May 2000
Work on site entailed: structural containment of the spreading structural walls; replacement of the roof; rebuilding all the services, bathrooms, electrics and plumbing; extensions to create an entrance and garden room; and many other things while we were at it.
We were sad to move out of Rock Road. But the new place was really exciting, and (eventually) habitable. Stage 2 is finshed, but the garden is continuing to evolve and we have a lot of other mini-projects in the pipeline....
The evolution of the garden room extension:
Now watch it grow:
Helen drives the digger...
The project involved the building of a new two storey extension as a central entrance. This houses the family bathroom upstairs. We asked Steve Lesik, the glass craftsman who renovated Rock Road, our old house, to create a new feature stained glass design for this extension.
He took an organic motif as his theme - the tree of life - and embellished it with references to our family and house. The red border of the door lights carries through up into the bathroom window and gives rise to the bowl of the tree. The tree winds its way up to bloom into red flowers in the glazed gable. The star-burst at the apex contains a piece of stained glass from Rock Road. The blue motif of of the rippling river water appears several times. The C.A.R. blue logo and the old CARtograph 9 square logo make guest appearances. The maroon red of R.M.S. points upwards.
Above - the glazed gable and bathroom window. Below, the front door lights
Roll the credits...
We had a great team working with us on the project. In addition to architecture by Helen Mulligan and Katie Thornburrow* and the occasional interference and suggestion (and budget cutting) of Andrew Coburn, the professionals were:
Alan Wright Consulting Engineers Ltd.; tel: 01787 479685
Scharlie Wraight of Covent Garden Design; tel: 01223 312528; (this is the third garden Scharlie has done for us).
John Martin (Builders) Ltd., tel: 01787 277526
*Katie Thornburrow of Thornburrow Holdsworth Architects; tel: 01223 500561