The Tithe Barn

This barn is situated near Maidenhead. The site of the property dates back to Elizabethan times, although the existing building was built by the prisoners of the Second World War, using reclaimed materials from dilapidated buildings on the site. The barn was used as a dance hall for many years, before its conversion to a dwelling in the 1960’s. The owners wanted to increase the living area and renovate the Barn, whilst retaining its traditional English appearance.

The building was stripped back to its original structure and was then framed up with steel and green oak. A cavity drain system was installed, allowing the walls to breath. The walls, ceiling and floors were insulated to current standards. Traditional materials and construction were utilised where possible. For example, both new and repair works used lime mortar, green oak frames with mortice and tenon pegged joints were installed and antiqued to blend seamlessly with the existing structural oak. The traditional leaded-light windows were restored. The Barn also utilises the best of modern technologies, such as a sophisticated intelligent lighting and sound system, security / fire alarm system and efficient underfloor heating, whilst the discrete design and installation retains the essential character of the building.

The main hall is a stunning open space, featuring the original oak structure and high vaulted ceilings. Carved oak panelling, European oak joinery and a Portland stone fireplace were custom designed for the Barn. The fireplace was sympathetically aged after installation. A custom-made hand-carved oak staircase leads from the main hall to the new mezzanine floors and a minstrel gallery.
The East Wing extension was constructed in parallel with the barn renovation. The green oak framework was aged in-situ and conceals the steel structural beams, with lime rendered panels replicating the style of the original Barn. Materials such as the bricks and tiles were carefully selected to harmonise with the original and careful attention to detail ensured a cohesive appearance. The windows to the extension were custom-made bronze casements, to simulate the Barn’s leaded-lights whilst complying with current building regulations.
The kitchen and bathrooms are built to a high specification. They feature the latest in technology, whilst the style is classic and subtle. The marble featured on walls, flooring and worktops was hand selected and the veins in the marble were carefully matched across adjacent slabs. Shadow gaps were formed at the junction between marble and plaster. The glass shower screens were recessed into the marble to give a streamlined, seamless appearance.
The heating and plumbing was changed from oil-fired to calor gas and two supply tanks were buried underground with the hard landscaping disguising the access points.

The finished home retains the character of the original Barn conversion, whilst combining the best of traditional and modern construction techniques to achieve a balance between contemporary technology, environmental considerations and English style. We won an LABC Building Excellence Award for the project.