26 January 2023
Sustainable Luxury: Cheshire Barn Restoration
Cheshire Barn Homes offer a bespoke service that meets the specific needs of every client. Creating luxury homes that are not only aesthetically aspirational and desirable but that focus on energy efficiency. These beautiful homes are finished to the highest standard and leave a proud legacy & commitment to sustainable home building. Winning a regional LABC award for ‘best change of use of an existing building or conversion, as well as being “Nationally Recognised”. Cheshire Barn Homes have now used our Castle Blend Paving in four of their recent renovation projects, including one listed building. Our stonecast concrete paving offered a low-carbon paving option. Our stonecast range is made in-house at our head office in Shropshire, reducing carbon emitted from transportation and the quarrying process of natural stone. It is also a recyclable material and absorbs carbon dioxide throughout its life. Handcrafted from original masters, our stonecast paving is extremely authentic and creates the illusion of maturity after just a few days of being laid, making it an ideal choice for an eco-conscious restoration.
Q+A Cheshire Barn Homes
We went out to see Cheshire Barn Homes latest project in person and had a good chat with project manager Richard who filled us in on this recent project and why they chose our low carbon paving:
1. Can you tell me about how the business began, your role & ethos?
Cheshire Barn Homes was set up in 2015 after Rhys employed me to project manage a barn conversion build for his family. I have 20 years of experience in the domestic construction industry and had developed some barn conversions to sell on in the past. We identified the fact that there were few companies in the market specialising in this market and particularly combining this with an emphasis on sustainability, high quality and renewable energies, Cheshire Barn Homes was born. My role as project manager is about harnessing the companies ethos of high quality, luxury and sustainably.
2. What issues have you come up against when renovating older properties? (Listed? permissions etc)
Barns always present a challenge. ‘All part of the fun’. Converting a building often in excess of 150yrs old and originally designed to house farm animals and equipment into a luxury sustainable family home is never going to be straightforward. The concept of Barn converting was developed by planners and conservation in order to preserve the look of the county side. Without this foresight these buildings would fall into disrepair and eventually be demolished. They are redundant buildings, unsuitable for todays modern farming. It does however require the right products and materials in order to be sympathetic to the original building and it’s surroundings. We have done a number of projects where barns are treated as ‘listed buildings’ within the curtilage of the listed farm. This requires additional consent and agreements with the local authority regarding the materials to be used for the conversion. Something Westminster Stone products have been able to help us achieve.
3. Can you tell us more about this property, what was the vision and key design features? What work did you do to the existing buildings and layout?
It is paramount to our philosophy to retain as much original character inside and outside barns as possible. Slate roofs, cast iron look guttering, indented brickwork on old ventilation brickwork, exposed rafter ends, and exposed beams and purlins inside. Many are left purely as features and not structural but are highly important to the history of the barns. All new materials brought in need to be carefully considered for their authenticity and visible suitability.
Sometimes initial planning permissions gained for a site only offer in our eyes, the basic principle. We often reconsider the options we see available to allow us to make the most of these iconic buildings. This may be reconfiguring the layouts internally or in some cases converting other buildings that were earmarked for demolition.
Poplar grove farm or ‘Oak view barns’ as it is now know was a prime example. Following buying the site in 2018 we were able to see a number of potential improvements we felt we could make to the site. Two plots had had a steel lean-to on the rear, down for demolition. It was agreed with planners that this footprint could be retained providing the replacement was done in contrast to the old brick building. A reclaimed brick parapet wall and glass roof design was agreed to contrast with the old building. This offered beautiful views of the gardens, new entrance driveway and open fields.
Further, a concrete block single-storey building that had been half calf rearing and half piggery was to be demolished. After obtaining planning permission this was saved and converted onto a further plot. The concrete blocks are covered with a homegrown sustainable Larch cladding. This element was also used on the new garage block and infill panels on the barns to complement each other.
Lastly, the development benefited from a change in entrance layout installing a new safer entrance exit driveway onto Smithy lane. It also allowed us to connect gardens directly to their properties previously intersected by the previously approved plan.
4. With so many paving companies out there what made you decide on Westminster Stone?
I have mentioned the importance to us of visual suitability and authenticity. The range produced by Westminster Stone allowed us to choose landscape products that matched in style. Curbs, wall copings, and paving all complemented the old Cheshire brick of the barns and was authentic to the age of the properties. We like the fact that we are buying a British product that is manufactured locally.
5. What specifically drew you to Castle blend Paving for this project?
Due to its reproduction in moulds made from real stone it is incredibly authentic. Many people ask us if it is stone we reclaimed from around the barns which is a real credit to its authenticity. On sites of the age of most of our barn conversions, we often come across small areas of natural stone paving. The Castle Bend colour quickly ages to resemble something that has been in situ for many many years and blends beautifully with its surroundings.
6. Why did you choose low carbon Stonecast paving over natural stone?
The choice of a concrete product allows us to provide a look not possible at the cost of a natural British stone and also sustain limited natural recourses
7. What do you think of the finished result?
We are extremely happy with the final result at Oak View barns. 2 years of hard work, much of which is unseen once the site is complete has resulted in a prestigious development harnessing thoroughly the ethos of Cheshire Barn Homes. Considerate conversions coupled with modern renewable energy technologies and authentic landscape products have produced 6 very special new houses in beautiful surroundings. The new owners, many of whom were onboard at an early stage having reserved plots are delighted with their new homes.
Cheshire Barn Homes
Cheshire Barn Homes has been built with quality at its core, putting the client, at the centre of the process. Breathing new life into beautifully located rural buildings. Unique, bespoke, and with sustainability in mind,
T: 01829 740019
Paving at Westminster Stone
Our speciality is in producing beautiful, traditional paving and flooring and it is one of the main reasons our customers choose us for sympathetic restorations of period properties and listed buildings across the UK. Find out more about our Traditional Stonecast paving and flooring.
Buy Castle Blend Paving
Inspired by the historic buildings and stately homes of Great Britain, Westminster Stone's Stonecast Castle Blend Flagstones have re-created the bygone age, with stunning rustic stone flagstone paving.