Rob and Grace Horton have remodelled a listed home, adding a contemporary-style extension in oak frame and glass.

Rob and Grace’s newly remodelled and extended listed home, set in a picturesque village within striking distance of Bath, offers the best of both worlds — comfortable interiors set up for modern family life, wrapped within a charming period envelope.

The couple, who have two children, Emily (twelve) and Calum (nine), are no strangers to renovating old homes as they had previously lived in a converted schoolhouse, where they added a two storey extension in addition to remodelling the interiors.

“When, in 2006, we found this Grade II listed property nearer to Bath, with a barn with planning permission to convert, we knew it would suit us better” explains Grace. “Rob needed an office, so we agreed we would convert the barn for him to work in.” However, both the layout and the size of the house – converted from two semi-detached farmworkers’ cottages in the 1990s – were less than perfect for the family. “It was quite small and we knew applying to extend a listed building was taking a big risk,” continues Grace.

Fortunately their gamble paid off — six months after moving in their plans for a single storey oak frame extension to the rear of the listed house were approved.

The local planning authority was in favour of their contemporary scheme, nestled beneath a reclaimed clay tile roof. “We were able to specify glazing to two sides, opening up a lovely view onto the garden and countryside beyond,” explains Grace. In the warmer months the doors can be thrown open, too.

The folding sliding doors and windows are set within a green oak frame of post and beam design. The couple made considerable savings here by presenting their plans directly to a local joiner to craft the frame, with a nearby glazier providing the argon-filled doubled-glazed units. They also ensured the new structure was well insulated to offset the glazing.

The extension has added much-needed living space, but Rob and Grace also faced a complex challenge when it came to the “mish-mash first floor layout” of the main house. One long room spanned the length of this floor, detracting space from the two bedrooms and bathroom.

Rob is an architectural designer by profession and accustomed to managing building projects. His new scheme involved removing one of the internal walls of the office in order to enlarge the master bedroom, which has in turn been improved with the extra light provided by windows on either side. The existing master en suite has been divided in half, providing space for an additional bathroom to serve the two attic bedrooms on the second floor.

The couple managed the project, hiring trades directly, and in the final stages rolled up their sleeves and decorated the house themselves, making further savings. Now, looking back on what they have achieved, they feel immensely positive. “We are all so delighted with the end result,” says Rob.

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