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Old Cobblers was originally three small cottages built around 1600. By the time the Francis & Zelah had bought it, it had become a single cottage. But with three staircases and three separate upstairs spaces, it didn’t feel like a single home. Francis & Zelah asked us to draw up plans for an extension containing a fifth bedroom. We considered the real problem that needed solving and came back with a counter-suggestion. Why not get rid of one of the current bedrooms – chilly, uninsulated, rarely used, stuck in an ungainly 20th century dormer – and in its place create a new staircase and lobby area on two floors to bind the entire house together?

When they saw the plans, they soon realised why this would work so well to unify the building. Where before there was vertical circulation (lots of isolated staircases) but very little horizontal connection, now there would be a single cottage filled with light and space and illuminated by views of the garden and beyond.

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"We wanted you both to know just how delighted we are with all the work on Old Cobblers. Every part of the design and construction has exceeded our expectations and turned a nice house into a really special one…the quality of the work throughout the build was exemplary, and your team was a delight to have around. They could not have been more accommodating, thoughtful and considerate…we also really appreciated how well you communicated with us throughout the project and put our minds at rest during some of the trickier phases”

Francis & Zelah (Client)

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By extending and insulating the dormer on the first floor we were able to link the three former cottages along the back. We also introduced a statement staircase of solid oak treads supported by a single painted steel spine, each tread appears to float in space, never touching the wall. The staircase thus enhances the lightness and airiness that characterises the new space.


Meanwhile we replaced tiny windows in the kitchen with a set of large French windows with window seats on either side. Where before the kitchen felt dark and isolated, today it feels connected to the mature garden and filled with light. Although the new features are modern, they are sympathetic to the character of the original cottages. And above all, they make three cottages into a single home filled with light and space.

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Project Details

Location: Steeple Ashton Wiltshire
Completion date: June 2019
Contract Value: £150k

Design Team

Architect & Project Manager: Jonny Marrion of Studio Hearth

Structural Engineer: Morcom Design Workshop

Build Team

Main Contractor: Craft Renovations Ltd

Metalwork for stairs: Trojan Engineering Ltd

Joinery for stairs: Pinnacle Joinery

Photography: Adam Carter Photography

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All photography © Adam Carter Photography