Country Cottage Extension
PJH Architectural Services were appointed by our clients to produce proposals for the extension and loft conversion of their elegant country cottage in quaint rural Tottington, Bury. We first visited the cottage in 2021, just after our clients purchased the property and PJH Architectural Services were appointed to assist in helping turn the house into a home more suitable for modern family living. However, the project was put on pause while our clients settled into their new surroundings. 6 months later we returned to get the project back under way, with our clients brimming with new ideas, having pictured the vast potential of their new home from within.
Sitting within the picturesque greenbelt of Tottington, the brief was to enhance the visual connectivity between The Cottage and its natural surroundings – maximising views out into the open countryside beyond. The existing property was a bungalow with all bedrooms and living spaces on the ground floor, however it had been constructed with the potential of a future loft conversion in mind, with the roof timbers and floor joists already suitable for loft loads.
Programmatically our clients were looking for a more conventional approach to their home, requiring a number of bedrooms relocated up to the first floor to provide traditional approach, and additional living space to be accommodated at ground floor. Externally the new additions needed to reflect the existing cottage to retain the elegance of the building, ensuring due consideration was given to its surroundings.
After living in the property for a number of months and experiencing their surroundings first hand, our clients had fallen in love with one view in particular. The views out to the west of the property; provided the magnificent imagery of the sun setting over the horizon, it became clear that this view needed to be retained and enhanced within the proposals.
The proposals sought to provide additional living space at the ground floor that was more suitably configured for modern life – the existing bungalow-esque nature of the property created a series of long dark corridors which needed to be addressed to minimise unnecessary interior circulation and maximise lighting into the dwelling. To address these issues on the ground floor, a straightforward design adjustment was implemented. The addition of a new staircase leading to the first floor required the reconfiguration of the existing dining room, which was awkwardly positioned in the center of the property. By opening up the dining room to the rest of the house and relocating the staircase, we were able to create an open, well-lit atrium. This transformation allowed for easy access to all areas of The Cottage.
A small ground floor rear extension allowed us to create an elegant snug to the west of the property. Designing with external views in mind at all times, a contemporary corner glazing feature looked to frame the sunset views that our clients had fallen in love with, while simultaneously opening up the inside of the dwelling to the countryside beyond. Ensuring that lighting and views through the new interior atrium were maximised, glazing was also designed in connection with sight lines through the property; upon entry to the dwelling, you’re greeted with a full view through the new extension and out into the natural surroundings.
Within the newly designed first floor, a similar approach was taken in order to enhance the connectivity with our clients’ favourite views while respecting the character of the existing dwelling. The new central staircase and double storey atrium allowed for two sizable new bedrooms to the property, one within each wing of the dwelling, and a spacious new family bathroom. The principal bedroom offers views out to the south and west, utilising apex glazing within a Juliette balcony on the gable end and two small, pitched roof dormers on the western elevation to frame the expansive countryside. The principal bedroom is complete with separate walk-in-wardrobe and en-suite facilities, as well as dresser and study space.
Throughout the design process, guidance from Bury Council’s Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) was constantly reviewed to ensure the proposals were appropriate. Falling within greenbelt land, the property was subject to restrictions, in order to preserve the landscape and avoid substandard design. These restrictions were carefully considered throughout the design phase in order to ensure the proposals were well crafted within their elegant natural context. The most notable restrictions within greenbelt relate to increases in volume, for which Bury Council allowance is 33% of the existing dwelling, alongside other restrictions on massing, sitting and aesthetics. The proposals also saw the erection of a new detached double garage adjacent to our clients dwelling, this had to be considered within the overall increase in volume and massing on the site – all to conform to Bury Councils planning guidance. The garage was carefully crafted in response to the design of the original dwelling. Once the proposals had been finalised between ourselves and our client, we handled all the relevant planning submissions to Bury Council.
Building regulations & tender
Planning was submitted on our country cottage extension project in the summer of 2022, with approval granted towards the end of the year, a delay seen by many planning authorities on the back of the COVID pandemic. On receipt of planning consent, we produced our detailed building regulations and tender package of information which in conjunction with structural engineers drawings, were put in front of the client and enabled the project to be tendered out to a selection of north-west based local contractors.
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