An in­dus­trial-style ex­ten­sion adds a con­tem­po­rary edge to a tra­di­tional farm­house


Farm­house con­ver­sion

Hav­ing al­ready ren­o­vated a cot­tage, Eleanor Meeks thought she was pre­pared for any­thing this new pro­ject could throw at her.

She and her part­ner had bought a tra­di­tional tile-hung and brick prop­erty in a coun­try set­ting, edged with ma­ture trees and back­ing on to open fields. It had the po­ten­tial to be gor­geous, but, ex­plains Eleanor, ‘A fam­ily had been liv­ing there for more than 50 years and the house was in des­per­ate need of at­ten­tion. It was cer­tainly the chal­lenge I was look­ing for!

‘You could ac­tu­ally put your hand through some of the in­ter­nal walls where the lathe and plas­ter had crum­bled,’ she says. ‘And then, when we took the wall­pa­per off the ceil­ing in the main bed­room, it all came crash­ing down!’

Orig­i­nally a two-up, two-down cot­tage dat­ing back to the 1650s, the house was added to in Ge­or­gian times and had a low-ceilinged kitchen and pantry at the side. ‘Our orig­i­nal plan was to ex­tend the kitchen out into the gar­den, un­til a friend sug­gested the more rad­i­cal idea of con­vert­ing a di­lap­i­dated out­build­ing at the rear into a large kitchen/liv­ing space,’ says Eleanor.

Work­ing closely with the lo­cal plan­ning de­part­ment, the cou­ple came up with a sym­pa­thetic, in­dus­trial-in­flu­enced design that re­flected the build­ing’s pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tion as a work­shop.

‘To­day, the ex­te­rior is clad in oak boards that will fade to a sil­very grey, with a cor­ru­gated

alu­minium roof, in­spired by farm build­ings in the area,’ says Eleanor. Eight fac­tory-style metal and glazed doors also run along the length of the back wall, max­imis­ing the glo­ri­ous view of fields and trees. With match­ing win­dows on three other sides and a lofty ceil­ing that fol­lows the line of the rafters, this vast, dou­ble-height room feels won­der­fully light and spa­cious.

The de­lib­er­ately plain and func­tional feel is lifted with bold bursts of colour, in­clud­ing a large, red Smeg fridge in one cor­ner. A long rec­tan­gle of ply­wood with an eye­catch­ing yel­low sur­face rest­ing on wooden tres­tles serves as the din­ing ta­ble and is sur­rounded by an eclec­tic as­sort­ment of mis­matched coun­try chairs – old and new, painted and bare. ‘I didn’t want a ‘fin­ished’ look. It wouldn’t have suited the space at all,’ says Eleanor. ‘I think that us­ing tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als and mix­ing old with new fits the room per­fectly and gives us the best of both worlds.’

Over in the far cor­ner, a con­tem­po­rary, L-shaped, grey sofa and com­fort­able old arm­chair are drawn up invit­ingly close to the wood­burn­ing stove. This snug spot, lib­er­ally scat­tered with cush­ions, vin­tage Welsh blan­kets and the odd sheep­skin throw, is where the fam­ily loves to watch films. ‘We pretty much live in the kitchen ex­ten­sion now and barely ven­ture into the rest of the house, ex­cept to sleep,’ says Eleanor.

With all that glass, un­der­floor heat­ing was in­stalled be­neath the stylish con­crete floor to keep the room at a per­fect tem­per­a­ture, and

it con­tin­ues into the old part of the house via a ver­nac­u­lar-style hall. Here, oak floor­boards have been treated with a mix of Swedish Osmo oil mixed with a lit­tle grey­ish-blue paint. The tones work well in the low-ceilinged sit­ting room with its tra­di­tional in­glenook fire­place, ex­posed beams and leaded-light win­dows. ‘We’ve used darker colours in here to make the room feel more cosy,’ Eleanor ex­plains.

She’s also filled the room with be­spoke light­ing cour­tesy of the lamp­shades she’s cov­ered with eye­catch­ing fab­rics, in­clud­ing her favourite vin­tage San­der­son flo­rals, and the strik­ing glass lamp bases she makes from large jars and bot­tles found at flea mar­kets.

In the main bed­room, soft, li­nen bed­ding in muted shades from The Li­nen Press con­trasts with the zingy lime yel­low colour above the pic­ture rail, which en­hances the low light com­ing from the small leaded win­dows.

The bath­room re­quired a more thor­ough over­haul, so el­e­gant, vin­tage-style fit­tings were sourced to com­ple­ment a roll­top bath snapped up on Ebay, with a basin rest­ing on an old chest of draw­ers and an an­tique mir­ror adding to the vin­tage feel.

Down­stairs is a wet room where Vic­to­ri­anstyle en­caus­tic floor tiles in a swirling blue and grey pat­tern are teamed with crisp white Metro wall tiles, echo­ing the suc­cess­ful mix of old and new, con­tem­po­rary and tra­di­tional. ‘Each part has its own ap­peal,’ says Eleanor, ‘and we get to en­joy the best of both worlds.’


COLOUR FO­CUS A world map and zingy yel­low chair cre­ate a fun look in the boys’ room WET ROOM Just off the hall is a wet room that con­tin­ues the tra­di­tional-meetscon­tem­po­rary theme with Vic­to­rian-style en­caus­tic floor tiles and crisp white Metro wall...

MAIN BED­ROOM In the main bed­room, a bold burst of bright yel­low lifts a neu­tral colour scheme and en­hances the light BATH­ROOM The roll­top bath was an Ebay find

CUP­BOARD An old wardrobe works well with the stripped, painted floor­boards and vin­tage lamp

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