Grade II Listed Property, Shere

Sited alongside the River Tillingbourne, this Grade 2 listed property underwent a full refurbishment programme accompanied with a new single storey lightweight timber frame side extension – built over a historically significant fragile Vault.

Using modern technologies alongside traditional craftmanship techniques the team were able to restore this desirable and charming property back to health.

Trevor Watts
Associate Director at Lytle Associates Architects

The property is a Grade II listed, mid eighteenth century Georgian ‘L-Shaped’ home sited adjacent to the River Tillingbourne, in the heart of the historic North Downs village of Shere, Surrey. The house sits within a walled garden with a brick vault at basement level. The property is adjacent to the important Grade 1 listed St James Church, and Lychgate at the centre of the village.

The brief was for the conversion of the existing basement, full restoration and repair of the listed property that had been vacant for three years. This comprised a full refurbishment programme to the main house to include structural improvements, timber decay treatments, basement waterproof tanking, external brickwork repointing, roof repairs, new mechanical and electrical servicing throughout, domestic facilities, and internal decorations.

An unattractive extension had been constructed in the 1960s to the eastern elevation of the building which was considered not in keeping with the character of the existing historic building.

Its demolition allowed space for the creation of a new larger single storey extension intended to be more in keeping with the historic property, while also providing improved dining and kitchen facilities for the client to meet the needs and desires of 21st century living.

All proposals were designed to honour and conserve the building’s historic fabric and aesthetics in accordance with specialist’s details and SPAB guidance.

We worked to develop an approach which sought to improve and rationalise the existing layout by replacing the poor-quality 1960s extension, making minor internal alterations and associated refurbishment works to secure the future of the building for residential use.

The design also utilises appropriate materials, workmanship, and construction techniques to successfully integrate sympathetic structural and finishes solutions.

The new extension was designed to not unbalance the original floorplan or diminish the importance and hierarchy of the historic house. Acting both as subservient to the original property, and in proportion with the Georgian aesthetic. The roof form of the extension is pyramidal, set behind a parapet to complement the existing building.

Constructed over a sensitive and fragile arched vault which had significant heritage importance. The extension was designed with a lightweight timber frame.  Standard facing brick could not be used due to excessive weight loadings.

The need to have the extension of a lightweight construction resulted in the use of a facing brick slip cradle system to keep the weight to a minimum whilst maintaining a facing brick appearance. The selection was of a system with integral insulation that not only addressed the weight tolerances but also provided an insulated carrier backing board.

Structural measures were taken to preserve the existing historic fabric whilst not intruding upon it, such as splicing or doubling up on Roof rafter and ceiling members providing roof restraint. Deflecting and failing existing timber floor beams received either a flitch plate reinforcement or a new steel beam substitute, dependant on location and installation criteria.

Due to existing ground conditions, the proximity of the listed vault, and being partly built on an embankment, a piled raft foundation was required so not to exert ground bearing pressures on the listed structure. This in turn led to careful superstructure detailing to ground and DPC levels.

A tanking solution was introduced to prevent water ingress from the river.

The extension respects the height, character, and proportions of both Sayers, and of the surrounding environment but appears subservient to the listed building. The proposed materials of brick, roof tiles, lead work and windows all match the existing as well as possible. All sash windows were fully restored by a specialist.

The project has seen a successful remodelling of the property; replacing the poor-quality existing extension with a larger, in-keeping high-quality extension; making sympathetic minor internal alterations and associated refurbishment works, thus improving and rationalising the present layout. The property now enjoys a layout that respects the unique layout and the proportions of the listed building whilst providing spaces suitable for modern living.

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