Furzey Hall Farm is a beautiful family house in a very rural location, created from a three storey Victorian Cotswold stone farm cottage and an adjacent barn. The estate agents who sold the existing property in 2006 were well aware of its potential, describing it as ‘a blank canvas – a dream house for an imaginative buyer... with views so far-reaching that it is possible to see the White Horse hill on a clear day...this is an opportunity not to be missed.'
The imaginative clients appointed architects who were also old friends and the collaboration has resulted in the two old buildings being linked together by an elegant new single storey timber and glass building. The link is ‘L’ shaped in plan enclosing two sides of the garden and houses a generous open plan kitchen, dining areas and a new guest suite.
In the dining area huge fully glazed sliding screens can be slid away to give access to a decked terrace and swimming pool which is filled with well water filtered through an adjacent reed bed. The roof of the building is cantilevered so that there is no structure along the garden edge. Children’s bedrooms and a snug sitting room are accommodated within the existing farmhouse.
The barn houses spectacular double height living spaces arranged in a cruciform plan within the central bay of the barn. Beyond this is a quirky open plan bathroom and beautifully detailed metal stairs leading to a mezzanine master bedroom. The thick rubblework exterior walls of the existing building, now absorbed into the interior of the house, are a delightful contrast to the smooth minimal finishes: glass, tiles, concrete and Brazilian Iroko which are used for the new building.
The architects take sustainability seriously and a ground source heat pumps provide heating and hot water. Throughout the project simple materials have been used in a confident manner; the original elm trusses are retained and the stone walls are left exposed along the gable ends of the barn.
The original character of the barn is juxtaposed with bold modern interventions such as the folded steel staircase. The project is true to its origins, with snug sitting rooms and cellular bedrooms retained in the farm cottage and open-plan living achieved in the barn. This is a scheme which has given its owners just what they wanted while retaining the architectural integrity of some good rural buildings.