Trevor and Barbara Roberts’ self-designed scheme has transformed a tired dormer bungalow in to a low-maintenance, cottage-style home, which makes the most of the rural views.

It’s hard not to cast an admiring (and enviable) eye over the façade of Trevor and Barbara’s Cotswolds home, particularly when you discover that the starting point for this remodel and extension project was a rather unspectacular 1960s artificial stone-clad dormer bungalow. Step inside and wow-factor is served up courtesy of a double-height living area with expansive views across the Cotswolds escarpment and local folly, Broadway Tower.

But true to the old adage, the beauty of this project is more than skin deep; aesthetics aside, the couple have achieved another major goal here in creating a low-maintenance ‘forever’ home, that will provide them with low-running costs in future years (thanks in the most part to high levels of insulation and an air-source heat pump).

The Project

  • Name: Trevor and Barbara Roberts
  • Build cost: £150,000
  • Build time: 1 year 11 months
  • Location: Cotswolds

The couple were living in Cumbria when they decided to move to the Cotswolds, to be closer to their daughter and young grandchildren. “We’d looked at a few cottages to renovate in the area, but the ceilings were too low and rooms too small for what we wanted to do,” explains Trevor, who’d grown accustomed to the voluminous spaces offered in their previous home (a converted barn). “Our daughter phoned us about this property which had just come onto the market in their village. I was in the area, so dropped by and knew immediately it had potential — and views.”

When their offer was accepted, in February 2010, the Roberts wasted no time developing their own plans, drawing inspiration from the local vernacular for the exterior makeover. “Inside, we knew we wanted to convert one of the two first floor bedrooms into an open galleried sitting area with double-height windows, and so decided to extend above the single storey garage to replace the bedroom we’d lost,” explains Trevor. The existing ground floor rear kitchen and front living room would be swapped around and opened up to ensure both enjoyed the views. The space occupied by the former garage would become a utility, plant room and office.

The couple were surprised when their initial planning application was refused, however a few tweaks to the plans from a planning consultant friend and the plans were eventually passed. “By the time we had planning approval, work was well under way on the items that didn’t need approval, which made for an illogical approach to the order of work. Nevertheless we went ahead and stripped out the ground floors and all the internal walls but two, with the help of our family,” says Trevor. The couple took on a considerable amount of work themselves, from producing their own structural calculations, to building the timber frame staircase extension.

“We knew this would be our long-term home so we invested in low-maintenance materials which would not need constant attention in the long run, such as the oak framed windows,” adds Barbara. Left to weather externally the frames will mellow to grey, without requiring the obligatory restaining every couple of years. “We also opted for cast-iron rainwater goods, which won’t rust for around 30 years,” she adds. The result is not just a property which will provide them with little ongoing maintenance and low utility bills, but a comfortable home with views which most would be happy to whittle away the hours in front of.

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