Autumn Update Newlands
3rd October 2016
Here is an update on the Historic Building project we have been undertaking in the Newlands Valley.
This project has been as challenging as it has been rewarding; every element of this renovation is bespoke and complex. Due to the nature of the building the highest level of sensitivity must be applied to both protect the fragile historic elements and so that all new additions complement and enhance the charming character of this property.
Following on from the extensive underpinning work that consumed a bulk of time early in the proceedings, was painstaking wall consolidation work using traditional techniques and pointing using 'hot lime' mortar.
We worked to consolidate and feature many quirky elements within the build to give the finish a truly unique feel such as this brick section in the inglenook which sits alongside a very early Bressumer 'fire' beam and blocked up fire window within the original house.
We have created various quirky window features which are functional -allowing much-needed light ??? and were an interesting way of conserving some of the curious features found within the build process.
Many of the floors include underfloor heating systems so some of the stone flag floors had to be carefully taken up. We had to create an inventive 'pug floor' system to fit and pack in the upstairs underfloor heating with the necessary pipework and insulative base as an alternative to lifting the delicate and brittle original oak floorboards.
The ceilings in the property are packed with wool insulation using a company that makes the highest quality wool insulation on the market (many wool insulations contain up to 40% plastics.) Wool makes an incredibly effective hygroscopic and natural toxin free insulator which works well with natural materials and traditional buildings to manage moisture levels and absorb harmful VOCs.
All the internal walls stone walls have been plastered using a hemp-lime plaster on wool wood boards or direct to stonework. Hemp is a natural carbon neutral (or negative) fibre that offers insulative qualities and a rustic breathable finish perfect for heritage buildings.
On the West elevation, we have built a sun room with curved feature walls and lots of light which will complement and enhance the otherwise traditional and lower light areas of the original building.
The property has required a high level of skilled traditional carpentry and joinery. There have been many beams to repair, renew and repurpose for both structural purposes and aesthetic appeal. Original oak floorboards have been repaired and in some parts of the
house new wide seasoned oak floorboards have been laid after the necessary period of acclimatisation. All the windows throughout the property have been renewed using bespoke hardwood frames in keeping with the original designs including the replacement of the unusual vertical sashes.