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  • Writer's pictureLouisa at Starre Corner

5 design decisions to make a Historical Building Consultant Happy

Updated: Nov 25, 2022

How can I possibly add a kitchen extension to my elegantly knackered 17th century home without it looking out of place and disjointed? Is it possible? My local Parish Council were very much in favour of a pastiche but that’s not my style. Before even engaging an architect, I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to achieve. An extension which I hope even Kevin McCloud would approve of.

In keeping with a utilitarian aesthetic, I believe I am creating a modern extension which will enhance the existing property rather than creating a visually awkward addition. It’s reassuring to know I’ve gained the approval of a Historical Building Consultant even if the Parish Council were a little less approving.

'a refreshingly honest use of materials to provide an extension that is clearly distinct from its host building' Historic Building Consultant

By drawing on the history of Starre Corner’s rural farm dwelling past and implementing agricultural building materials on a modern structure I can understand why the Historic Building Consultant was generously approving.

Introducing 5 design decisions to make a Historical Building Consultant happy:

Corrugated galvanized metal cladding

No matter how many times a brick salesman tries to persuade me that their reproduction Norfolk Reds look identical to the original bricks on my 300+ year old cottage I will never be persuaded. They might look similar but not identical and therefore would not blend in sufficiently to meet my exacting requirements.

Totally inspired by an image in The Guardian of the home of the late Pat Albeck I passionately want corrugated metal cladding on the new build. As the extension is going on a site which previously housed a rundown corrugated wood store it feels a fitting nod to the past.

I love the utilitarian agricultural aesthetic which this simple building material brings to the project, adding texture and patina along with complimenting the tone of existing 300 year old Norfolk Reds.

Pat Albeck at Home, The Guardian

Green Living Roof - Sedum

For the same reasons as not wanting to use reproduction Norfolk Reds I feel the same about roof tiles. New roof tiles just wouldn’t blend in and the chances of finding matching reclaimed tiles is highly unlikely. Did you know that old handmade roof tiles were historically made locally and vary slightly in size and shape from place to place? Even my neighbouring village is likely to have different roof tiles. If the roof tiles don't blend in completely, I don’t want them so looked for a solution which would create a visually appealing juxtaposition to the old part of Starre Corner – introducing a living green sedum roof fills me with delight.

Also, conscious that the new build would reduce existing back garden greenery I welcome an opportunity to offer my neighbours a pleasing green living roof outlook and for a modern habitat for wildlife to thrive in.

Finally, a green living sedum roof adds a softness to the agricultural starkness of a metal clad façade, preferring to reflect on the building agricultural past as opposed to replicating a farm building.

Green Roof - Sedum

Doors and Windows – Steel look aluminium

I won’t beat around the bush here, I wholeheartedly wanted agricultural looking steel windows but realistically my budget wouldn’t stretch that far. Thankfully I am exploring the option of steel look aluminium doors and windows. They’re exceedingly impressive and convincing and it doesn’t feel like a compromise too far. I’m very impressed I may be able to achieve the look I want to suit my budget. Doors and window are such a big style decision and financial investment so before committing I’d like to undertake further due diligence. I will be happy to share my findings further down my DIY extension building journey.

Guttering – galvanized steel

I introduced galvanized steel guttering the Starre Corner over 4 years ago and it's a look I want to continue around the property. The previous owner of Starre Corner recently sent me a photo of his mum sitting outside the back door at Starre Corner. I was delighted to see a large galvanized water butt in the background looking stunning. This image boosted my confident in the decision to use galvanized guttering (plastic was never an option) as a suitable modern substitute to using traditional cast iron.

Roof Lantern

Have you ever seen a clear Norfolk sky at night? It’s captivating. If you have, you’ll appreciate why I want large glass roof lanterns in the roof, giving me every opportunity to star gaze and bring the outside in. It’s going to be magical.

By introducing large sky lanterns into the modern part of Starre Corner I aim to flood light into the old and new. Large glass roof lanterns will introduce a positive impact within the older part of Starre Corner which has low ceilings and small windows and at times can feel dark and oppressive on grey days.

There are many more design decisions to make but these are the five key decisions to date for the external aspect of Starre Corner’s kitchen extension - 5 design decisions to make a Historical Building Consultant happy.


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