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First look: £170k A-frame house by Donald Insall Associates

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A striking gabled design that echoes the steeple of the neighbouring church

This house by Donald Insall Associates sits in the village of Llandwrog, built as a model estate village in the middle of the 19th century on land belonging to Glynllifon mansion.

The house’s position is on an elevated site at the heart of the village, adjacent to St Twrog’s Church, which is surrounded by a churchyard enclosed by a high rubble-stone wall.

New private house insall architects © andy marshall 04 copy


Source: Andy Marshall

The local family who commissioned the house originally had planning permission for a suburban-style bungalow for the site, but this both restricted the size of the garden and any room to extend at a later date.

The design developed by Donald Insall Associates was for a much more distinctive yet contextual A-frame house, the prominent gable of which was inspired by the character and domestic vernacular of the surrounding village, as well as respectfully echoing the east gable of the church behind it.

Thus a palette of local materials and elements is picked up in the house, which is in a conservation area, including rubble stone walls, a steep slate roof and the three-light mullioned and transomed gable-set timber windows seen in many village houses – just here on a much larger scale.

The simple A-frame form allowed for very low cost construction to suit the client’s budget and by creating two storeys, the footprint sits very comfortably in the site.

The house is also anchored in its setting by the reuse of an existing rubble-stone shed, which was attached to the churchyard wall and which has now been converted into a snug.

Llpd completion photos high res. jpg (c) andy marshall0024


Source: Andy Marshall

Architect’s statement

The A-frame design was inspired by Llandwrog village’s picturesque Gothic flavour and the distinctive steep slate pitch while allowing unobstructed views to and from its largest neighbour - the church. The use of traditional materials and detailing can enhance a conservation area’s character, much of which has been eroded in recent years. The new family dwelling aimed to enhance its setting by reflecting the village aesthetic to stimulate contemporary sustainable design.

Gwyn Roberts, senior architect & BIM manager

Llandwrog concept drawing


Source: Donald Insall Associates

Concept sketch 

Project data

Completion September 2015
Construction cost £170,000
Gross internal floor area 148m²
Architect Donald Insall Associates
Client Private
Structural engineer Bob Johnson Consulting Structural Engineers
Main contractor North Wales Timber Frames

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