Louise and Peter Wreford demolished their 1950s brick bungalow in order to build a family home on their ¾ acre plot. Being located in the New Forest meant the Wrefords had to work with oak frame provider Border Oak in order to find creative solutions to fit in with the very strict planning rules that were imposed.

A combination of oak, brick, timber cladding and clay roof tiles means that the house blends in perfectly with its setting. Despite the traditional look of the house, it uses some very eco-friendly technology, including a ground-source heat pump — making it economical to run.

Project Notes

  • Name: Louise and Peter Wreford
  • Project: Oak frame self build
  • Location: New Forest
  • Build time: Nov 2011 – Oct 2012
  • Size: 192m2
  • Plot cost: £322,000 (2001)
  • Build cost: £550,000 (£2,864/m2)
  • Value: £950,000+

Designer’s View: Merry Albright

What I love most about this design is the organic, relaxed ambience. This has been created by using a mixed palette of natural materials — all of which will weather gradually without competing against one another. It is a classic palette that Border Oak has used many times over the past four decades and something we are confident will complement the surrounding landscape.

The design has architectural variation and interest — differing ridge heights, dormer windows, an oak jetty and the open porch, for example. These devices help diminish the volume and size and allow the building to integrate with the plot. They also provide recession and projection and a distinctive ‘informality’, which is both easy to live with and pleasing to the eye.

oak frame home with bright plinth on a large garden plot

Exterior and Garage

The oak-framed house features clay roof tiles, render panels and a single storey timber-clad section — all in keeping with the local area. The detached garage was built before work on the house began.

oak frame timber clad garage

Double-Height Hallway

The hallway is flooded with light, thanks to an enormous full- height window, with views over fields owned by the Wrefords. The light-filled dining hall is now used for Victoria’s piano practice, as the family tends to congregate in the kitchen/breakfast room at meal times.

exposed oak frame in hallway and staircase

Living Room

The living room is full of character, thanks to the exposed oak frame and the eye-catching Bath stone fireplace complete with woodburning stove from Clearview Stoves.

living room with stone hearth and woodburning stove

Kitchen-Breakfast Room

An Aga and island unit were top of Louise’s wish-list for the new home. The painted units (well suited to the country-style kitchen) are from deVOL. The marble floor works brilliantly with the underfloor heating — the only issue the Wrefords have with the kitchen is stopping their newly acquired rescue dog from chewing it.

kitchen with brick chimney breast and Aga
kitchen in timber frame home with traditional kitchen

First Floor Spaces

Upstairs, the original plans were tweaked at the request of Louise and Peter to open up the ceilings to the A-frame for maximum character. Although the stylish bathroom is currently shared by the whole family, plans are afoot to turn a storage space in the master bedroom into an en suite.

gallery landing oak frame home with vaulted ceiling
bathroom in loft room of oak frame

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