Luxury Residential Conversion
PJH Architectural Services have recently been appointed by Astro Blue Properties, to produce proposals for the conversion of a stunning 19th century school house in Lostock, Bolton, into a luxury residential dwelling fit for modern family living. Having come across the old school house, originally constructed in 1879 and then later extended before being partially converted into a habitable dwelling in the 1970s, our clients were in awe of the vast potential of the property alongside the beauty and character of the building and the overall plot.
From the outset it was apparent that while the brief was to adapt, extend and improve upon the property, a close dialogue with our client made it clear that we were all very conscious of the associated historic heritage of the site; working with a building constructed almost 150 years ago is a challenge, in order to ensure sufficient consideration is given to the existing character while allowing the dwelling to thrive within modern standards of living.
Luxury Residential Conversion Design
A close working relationship with our client from the offset led to the formation of an initial brief, looking to fully convert the building into a habitable 5-bedroom dwelling and accommodate luxury open plan living spaces to the ground floor. Following site visits in which we were able to fully evaluate the potential of the plot, we set about developing a series of initial feasibility studies and sketch proposals looking to explore a range of possibilities for extension, adaption and re-use. Throughout this initial design process, consideration was given to the relationships between spaces inclusive of site, street and neighbouring dwellings, each of which was pivotal to the success of the overall project. These were then presented to our client for review before coming into the office for a design charette, looking to create a proposal encompassing all of the client’s needs and desires, while making it a priority to retain the character of the historic property.
As existing, the entrance to the building felt hidden; tucked away to the side of the property, it wasn’t welcoming and restricted access throughout the dwelling once inside. The first port of call was to reposition the entrance in order to provide hierarchy to the site and create a focal point within the principal elevation – a modest addition to the front of the property shadowing the form of the front facing gables created this focal point and improved overall access. Once inside, you’re met by a striking bifurcated staircase which leads the eyes up through the vast central atrium – emphasising the grandeur of the property. To the front of the ground floor, a formal lounge takes advantage of the open south facing views by the introduction of full height glazing, while the office and cinema rooms occupy the quieter spaces towards the rear. The centrally located open atrium allows for ease of thoroughfare around the dwelling, with access to the utility, cloakroom & WC all provided centrally.
The standout of the ground floor is the open plan kitchen, dining and snug areas within the western wing of the building, all designed cohesively to be the pinnacle entertaining and living spaces within the property. The spaces are split in two between the original dwelling and a newly proposed addition to the side of the dwelling, interconnected by a glazed link. The kitchen and dining area are enhanced by the retention of a series of original arched windows which look to maximise the south facing views and bring through some of the original building character. At the end of the open plan space, a double height space opens up and celebrates the original feature glazing within the gable end. The snug space sits within the proposed extension – finished in a soft, contrasting grey brick and connected by an elegant, glazed walkway. The addition features vast corner glazing to maximise natural light and views whilst maintaining the character of the old school house.
The first floor consists of a series of bedrooms along with a laundry room, accessed off the landing, featuring a functional laundry chute down into the utility room. Two master bedrooms occupy the spaces along the front elevation within each wing of the building – each of which is finished with generously sized walk-in-wardrobes and en-suite facilities. A series of considered new dormers provide views out into the countryside, while full height internal glazing within bedroom 2 creates aspect views out to the west, through the double height space within the kitchen/dining area. Each of the additional bedrooms is finished with sizable en-suite facilities and feature glazing details.
Exteriors and Visuals
The complexity of the different factors involved – layout, site arrangement, topography, street scene, neighbouring properties – meant that both the interior layouts and external visuals were in constant flux, each influencing design principles of one another and being constantly considered in conjunction with one another. Externally, the main aim of the luxury residential conversion project was to breathe new life into the dilapidated building while retaining as much original character as possible. Retention of key feature glazing where appropriate was a must, as well as retaining the original school bell in the western gable end! A series of external options were presented to the client, with contrasting considerations for the new extension and glazing options; our client quickly fell in love with the elegance of the designs.
In order to allow our client to fully appreciate their project and start to see it coming to life, we provided our client with a set of visuals to get a real life feeling for the project. The visuals also aid in the planning application process to allow others to better experience the proposals and provide the planners with a true to life representation of the finished article.
Stages of Work
Planning was submitted on the luxury residential conversion in Q3 of 2022, with approval expected towards the end of the year; on receipt of planning we will commence our detailed tender package of information which in conjunction with a vast project team including civil & structural engineers, ecologists and arboriculturists that we’ve put in front of the client, will enable the project to be tendered out to a selection of north-west based local contractors.
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If you need any advice on the first steps of designing and planning an external renovation project, extension or new build feel free to get in touch for a brief chat, we are here to help.
Tel: 0161 4600382