Liz Kingston has sensitively renovated the dated interiors of a listed stone property, adding a contemporary extension to take best advantage of the light and the rural views.
When Liz decided to leave Bath and move out to the country, she exchanged her Georgian townhouse with courtyard garden for a Somerset country home, built in classical farmhouse style and set in nine acres of grounds. With lawns and paddocks sloping down to the Egford brook, this picture of rural idyll is completed by the property’s outlook over miles of open farmland.
“Everyone moans about the litter and the parking in Bath, and I decided it was time for a change,” Liz recalls. “I viewed lots of country houses but none were quite right, until I walked into this one and fell in love straight away.”
Maed House had been virtually derelict in the 1960s, when it was again made habitable. When Liz viewed the house in 2007 it was structurally sound, but had become tired and dated, especially the 1970s kitchen.
The redesign and installation of a new kitchen would therefore be a priority in what would become a comprehensive remodel and renovation project. Subsequent work would include rebuilding the garage, rewiring, re-plumbing, strengthening floors and installing new windows. A new bathroom would be added on the first floor and the second storey loft rooms made habitable — allowing for the creation of a fourth bedroom and a spacious study.
Liz’s architect Rob, with whom she had worked previously, persuaded her that a side extension above the laundry room could spoil the symmetry of the historic stone building, and instead suggested replacing the existing shabby rear conservatory with a contemporary, single storey glazed extension, which would contain a garden room and a ground floor wetroom.
Planning permission and listed building consent were required, in addition to Building Regulations approval, all of which took some time to secure. “There was nothing that they objected to, apart from changing the low doorway in the attic between my study and the new bedroom,” says Liz.
The new steel framed conservatory is glazed on three sides, with oak frame doors opening from the garden room onto a deck. A flagstone passageway divides the garden room from a luxurious wetroom, where the shower overlooks the garden through a clear glass wall.
“My builders were concerned that the gardener might be able to see me in the shower, but I assured them I would only use it when there was no one around, and actually you can’t see anything from outside,” laughs Liz. “Nothing beats standing in the shower and looking out at the wildlife. There are herons, foxes and I’ve even seen a buzzard. Country life is certainly far from dull.”