Just a few miles north of Oxford, situated in the historic outskirts of Kidlington, Riach Architects have recently completed the refurbishment of a fantastic grade II listed property. Formerly a farmhouse, it was constructed in the mid 18th century in a largely Georgian manner, which was the fashion of the time. This is most noticeable in the design of the front elevation with its large sash windows and gabled stone slate roof. At the end of the 19th century, it was converted into a dwelling with a few secondary extensions added that allowed the property to evolve over time but not in a way that was entirely sympathetic to the history of the house. As such, most of the house had become worn down and was desperate to return to its former glory.
The clients had fallen in love with the character of the place and wanted to restore much of the house, removing later concrete additions and cement pointing and exposing much of the historic fabric that had been covered up over time. Although determined to retain the style, they also wanted to bring it up to date with modern heating and wiring systems and a few high tech luxuries.
As part of the works, a large part of the budget went into essential but necessary tasks such as damp proofing and replacing the gypsum plaster. This had been added throughout and was replaced with lime to crucially allow the stone fabric to breathe.
The proposal allowed for parts of the structure to be demolished and rebuilt using reclaimed stone from the site, which was generated by enlarging window openings and taking down some walls. Maximising light into some of the darker areas of the house was also achieved through the use of glass shutters hidden behind historic doors. However, the centre piece of the refurbishment is the glass connecting box that links the rear wings of the house. This provides views internally out to the courtyard and from externally into the house exposing the full height of the historic stone stairwell. Throughout, the main intention was to retain and refurbish the soul of the house and the client could not have been happier with the final result.