Justin and Kelly Goodheart dedicated over four years to building a new barn-style house clad in Cotswold stone, hiding a spectacular vaulted oak frame inside. The finished house sits on a single storey with a sprawling footprint of 288m². This arrangement, twinned with vaulted ceilings and the ‘dovecote’ tower, allowed the Goodhearts to make the most of a highly unusual site.

Justin and Kelly knew it would be hard to find a really interesting plot in the location they wanted. Both time and money were on their side however, as they were able to live with family members for a while and had the advantage of money in their bank from the sale of their previous one-bedroom barn conversion.

In the end their extensive knowledge of the area and good local networking paid off when they appeared to find the perfect plot, only a quarter of an acre away from a Mediaeval church. The only problem was that the site was just outside the village development boundary; inevitably this led to a difficult planning situation.

Months of consultation with local planners and their architect Howard Waters followed, with Justin and Kelly hoping that the high quality of their scheme would ulitmately lead to its approval. Although the process was anything but simple, Swindon Borough Planning Committee approved the plans 11:1 in favour and the Goodhearts’ home began to take shape.

Further delays to the build came in the shape of an undiscovered spring beneath the site and the arrival of a baby boy, Finley, in December 2007.

Justin and Kelly decided to move into their the partially completed building, finishing off as money became available. “It worked well. It meant we could choose the quality of finish we wanted,” Justin says. “We worked incredibly hard ourselves, doing all the jobs we could that did not need a professional skill,” recalls Justin.

The finished house is largely as envisaged by Justin and Kelly, though they admit with a huge amount of input from Howard. He has made the most of the site, which slopes slightly downhill to the south-east to create a three storey section that houses the master bedroom, with their dressing room and walk-in shower beneath, and bathroom in the roof void.

With its glistening Cotswold stone roof the house now looks magnificent,” concludes Justin. “But we would not have succeeded without that key piece of advice from the planners to take our case to the members — and tremendous support from our families.”

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