Detached house in Epping forest


Our Client owned a Grade II Listed house believed to date late eighteenth century and is situated in approximately 4 acres of grounds within a sought after area in Epping Forest District.  A number of outbuildings including grain stores, barns and other timber structures are used for general storage of equipment necessary for the maintenance and upkeep of the existing house and grounds.  The Client required a new dwelling within the grounds of the listed buildings and to benefit from the views over the adjacent golf course, an open plan layout and some eye catching internal features.  The Client was also keen to reduce utility bills and have a well insulated house. Two huge lime trees located either side of the new access to the site, protected by council tree preservation orders and the site was adjacent green belt would impose some constraints on the build, but nevertheless needed to be considered carefully.  Generally, the existing outbuildings were of a vernacular style and the Client was keen to maintain this overall appearance for the site.  BRD were appointed by the Client to design and provide all necessary statutory approvals including planning and building regulations.  In addition, we were to issue all relevant documents for tender purposes and provide architectural support throughout the entire project.

Our solution

BRD designed a 2500 sq.m detached vernacular style building with utility room, cloakroom, and predominately most of the bedrooms on the ground floor.  The main habitable space was designed on the first floor and included living space, kitchen, master bedroom and ensuite.  All these rooms benefit from the fabulous views over the golf course to the rear.  This was also overlooked by a partially covered solid oak balcony accessible from the main living space via a very wide level threshold opening, allowing the inside to naturally flow to the outside environment.  A floating feature fireplace in the centre of the room with disappearing flue up to the large vaulted ceiling broken up with solid oak trusses at regular intervals gave the living area a huge sense of volume and light. Most barn conversions or buildings of this style can often appear to be poorly lit with severe lack of daylight, however, strategically placed glazing and good low energy lighting design assisted with the overall impressive feel. 

The external fabric was constructed from timber frame with a finish of black painted weather boarding and solid oak doors which continued the theme of the existing outbuildings. The front elevation featured a large glazed screen representing a traditional threshold to a barn, regular narrow window openings, giving the appearance of glazing between timber studs and a grey slate roof.

A rainwater harvesting system was installed to reduce internal water demand used for toilet flushing, and washing of clothes.  The tank was adequately sized to also allow for some external use such as washing the car and local garden watering.  Rainwater collected from the roof was stored in a large 6000ltr tank buried in the ground and water drawn off as and when required.  High levels of insulation were achieved by filling in between the timber frame with Kingspan solid insulation on the outside, thus reducing the thermal bridging effect.

Work delivered

BRD Tech successfully obtained planning permission for the new dwelling that met the Client’s brief.  Building regulation drawings, full specification and tender documents were prepared and issued to several main contractors.  Tenders evaluation and analysis was carried out jointly with the Contract Administrator.  BRD attended regular site meetings held between the Design Team, Client and Main Contractor and provided on site assistance and inspections of work. 

Lead Designer – BRD Tech
Contract Administrator – John Burke Associates
Lighting Designer – Light IQ
Structural Engineers – Robert Hays Partnership
Main Contractor – Noble & Taylor