Stunning Part Q Barn Conversion for a Modern Agricultural Building

31st October 2018

Many people will be aware of the permitted development rights that came in back in 2013 to allow a change of use for agricultural buildings to residential. We’ve successfully obtained a number of consents under this policy, though usually for traditional stone & cob barns.
So it made an interesting change for us to be commissioned to design a scheme for a steel framed ‘Dutch’ barn. The modernity of the structure and form of the building has created the opportunity to create an unusual and exciting contemporary home, full of light and space.
A key to any barn conversion is to retain something of the feel of the original structure; in this instance the curved roof of the main section of the building is expressed internally and visible from the double height part of the principle living space which extends to form the central vertical and horizontal circulation.
An open plan living / dining space opens onto a large family kitchen on the ground floor. Beyond this is a snug, playroom and gym along with two ensuite bedrooms on the south side.  There is a double garage, workshop and utility on the north side. On the first floor is the master bedroom suite, complete with covered roof terrace and two further bedrooms.  So lots of space and a family friendly layout!

Boathouse Converted to Waterside Home!

1st October 2018

Here is an photograph of a recently completed project we designed at a gorgeous riverside location.  The building is a former boathouse on the banks of the River Torridge.

It consists of a single rectangular volume  – a duo pitched slate roof sitting on solid stone walls. Our design took account of the location and obvious flood risk by placing all of the living accommodation on the first floor, within the roof void. The principle living spaces are arranged at the front of the plan to take advantage of the fully glazed gable end.  Beyond that sits a bathroom and master bedroom suite and on the ground floor there is an integral garage, hobbies room, services and storage.

Here is an image from the 3D CAD model we built during the design stage – happily the finished building looks very similar. Well done to local building contractors AP Build, (, on a skilfully executed project and a happy client. Last but not least, here is the all important view – what a glorious sight be be greeted with at the start of the day!

The Value of Work Experience

20th August 2018

Like many employers we receive a number of requests for work experience, particularly from secondary school students.  It is easy to just say no; hosting a work experience student for a week does require some time and effort from an employer. However we feel there are benefits of being involved in this process and generally offer up to 3 such placements each year.

Aside from the general positivity there is with being able to give back something and help young people decide what careers may suit them, from an employers perspective, it gives a chance to find potential employees, particularly if like us, you offer apprenticeships.  One of our current team, now about to enter his third year, came to us originally on a Year 10 work experience placement in 2015.  Such was his aptitude and enthusiasm, we employed him as soon as he left school. Our founding Director, Peregrine Mears also began his lifelong involvement in architecture through a work experience placement, way back in the 1980’s!

Our most recent placement was part of the Generation STEM programme which is focused on helping pupils to find STEM-related work experience, (science, technology, engineering and maths) and support them to get the most out of the experience.  Here is a photo of Harrison Goddard, a Year 10 student at Braunton Academy, giving a presentation to us on a design project at the end of his week’s work experience as part of Generation STEM. Harrison gained an introduction to building design using 3D CAD and proved to be a very able and engaging young chap.  We wish him well if he elects to pursue a career in architecture.

New Restaurant Opens in Grade I Listed Building

26th July 2018

Finding viable new uses for historic buildings can be a challenge.  The listing constraints limit what can be done to the fabric of a structure so one has to understand and work with the grain of a building to create a scheme that respects that yet at the same time meets modern standards and building regulations.

The building has had a new lease of life with the former dark interior transformed into a light, welcoming space.  We were able to negotiate the insertion of new windows in the main elevation to bring light into the dining areas and create a visual connection with the exterior covered colonnade.  We also reopened a high level gable window in the central hall and the windows along the riverside elevation.  That and the high, vaulted ceilings have resulted in two impressive yet flexible spaces.

We were delighted to be appointed as Architects for the project and successfully negotiated planning and listed building approvals earlier this year. The restaurant / cafe opened at the start of the recent heatwave so the outdoor tables and river frontage have proved popular. The building has already been booked for many private functions and there are lots of events planned for the adjoining outdoor square over the summer, (see The project has enabled an important part of Barnstaple’s Heritage to be conserved and enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Regional Awards Finalists!

8th June 2018

Here we are pictured at last night’s Michelmores Property Awards evening at Exeter University.  The Garden Room at RHS Rosemoor was a runner up in the Leisure & Tourism category.  This follows a similar success we enjoyed a few weeks ago at the RICS Awards.

The awards evening, hosted by comedian Josh Widdicombe recognises excellence in building projects across the region. Pictured above are Paul Cooper and Peregrine Mears, (from PMA) with Nick Brissenden and Malcolm White of RWP who were Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers for the scheme at RHS Rosemoor.

Planning Approval for Bovey Tracey Community Hub Project

16th May 2018

Plans to build a new community centre in Bovey Tracey have taken a major step forward with the granting of full planning approval yesterday.  Teignbridge District Council Planning Committee were unanimous in their support for the project with councillors voting 16-0 in favour of the scheme.

Situated at the western gateway of the town, the new community centre is to be built on the site of the former The Old Thatched Inn on Station Road. It will include a library, information centre, public toilets, town council offices, business enterprise centre and a multipurpose meeting / events space.

We are really delighted to see the Local Planning Authority give their overwhelming support to this project.  This building represents a very positive step for Bovey Tracey and we’re thrilled about the positive effects it will have on the local community.

A main contractor has been appointed for the project which is due to start on site in September 2018, with completion anticipated for May 2019.  So watch this space for updates!

Permitted Development Rules for Barns Improved

5th April 2018

Gaining planning consent for new dwellings in rural areas can be tricky, however the permitted development legislation that came into force in 2013 has seen hundreds of barns and other agricultural buildings achieve a change of use to residential.

Until now, the rules have allowed agricultural buildings to be converted to up to three dwellings with a combined floorspace of 450m2. As of tomorrow, 6th April 2018, the rules will be extended to offer more flexibility to applicants. The key changes are that:

– Up to five homes, (each less than 100 sq m), can now be formed from a single building.

– The previous requirement that a building should be structurally strong enough to take the loadings associated with conversion works has been reduced, accepting that an element of structural replacement may be necessary to facilitate a conversion.

– Any interior works, for example introducing a new floor, do not constitute development so local planning authorities may not refuse proposals due to the extent of internal work involved.

If you’re a farmer or landowner, the permitted development rules offer the chance to transform under used buildings into highly valuable assets.  Conversely if you’ve always wanted a home in the country, whether a traditional or contemporary barn conversion, this scheme may well provide the answer.  Please contact us for more information.  In the meantime, here is a barn conversion we designed….,

Published in Self Build & Design Magazine!

13th March 2018

We’re delighted to say one of our projects is featured in the April 2018 issue of Self Build & Design Magazine!  (Available at all good news agents now)!

The extension and renovation we designed and managed at Khyber in Appledore, which was completed in Spring 2017, is showcased over 8 pages of that publication, a couple of which are included above.

The article features photos of the finished property and an interview with our lovely clients John & Billy Pook, who’s top tip was. “Use an Architect – ours was invaluable..”

Thank you folks!  Thank you too to SBD Magazine for featuring our work.

Planning Approval for a Contemporary New Home Inspired by Traditional Forms

14th February 2018

Here’s a sneak preview of a new private house we have just received detailed planning approval for! The site is in an elevated position with a south facing principal aspect making it very appealing in design terms. Those factors suggested lots of glazing with deep reveals. The plot lies within a conservation area and our research found pictures of old barns that once stood at the entrance to the site.

Our design takes note of that, and also the form of traditional Devon Longhouses – these generally run on an east-west axis to allow all habitable rooms to face south. The form of the proposed house reflects this and the old barns being split into two volumes, one for living and one for sleeping. These are linked by a glazed box which wraps around the circulation core at the rear.

Externally, the use of natural stone, timber cladding and slate roofs anchor the house to the setting and create a building that has a stunning sequence of internal spaces yet sits comfortably in its surroundings. The project is due to start on site in Spring 2018, so watch this space for updates!

Plans for Barnstaple's former Heritage Centre to be transformed into a restaurant!

25th January 2018

We’re pleased to announce the coming of a new restaurant to Barnstaple which will preserve a vital part of the town’s heritage!

Queen Anne’s Walk dates from 1708 and is the oldest classical building in Barnstaple.  It has been empty for almost two years but now has a bright future once more.  The scheme we have designed will allow a sensitive conversion of the building and help bring people back to the town’s resurgent riverside quarter.

Here’s how the news was covered on DevonLive:

Watch this space for more news about this project!

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