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AJ Small Projects winner: Croft Lodge Studio by Kate Darby & David Connor

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Architect Kate Darby and designer David Connor describe how they preserved a 17th-century cottage in Leominster, Herefordshire, and turned it into a studio – for £160,000

The existing listed ruined cottage sits next to a common. To the east end of the cottage there were stables but these have fallen down and were beyond repair.

The strategy was not to renovate or repair the 300-year-old structures but to preserve them within a new high-performance outer envelope. This means that there is often two roofs and two walls, an old one and a new one. Everything about the ruin is retained including the ivy, the birds nests, old fabric, the cobwebs and the dust.

The new shell is made with a steel frame infilled with timber and the voids are filled with insulation. Skylights are triple glazed and windows are double glazed, where there is an old window, a new one is fitted on the outside. The new structure is then clad externally with black corrugated iron – an agricultural material used extensively in the area.

The super-insulated structure is heated by two log burning stoves; electricity is provided by an array of photovoltaic panels, and under the south-facing metal roof runs 100m of black pipe to act as a solar collector for hot water in the summer months.

The building is currently laid out as a design studio with a store, kitchen, sleeping area and a living room. However, the building has also been designed to become a three-bedroom house with minimal alterations.

croft lodge 11

croft lodge 11

Source: James Morris

Project data

Cost £160,000
Begun Jan 2014
Completed Dec 2016
Floor area 115m²
Procurement Self build
Consultant and structural engineer Donald McIntyre
Steel frame John Ruck
Aluminium clad windows and doors Velfac Windows
Custom skylight Natralight
Steel staircase and blaustrade Border Engineering
Rooflights The Rooflight Company

croft lodge 12

croft lodge 12

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