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A Modern Farmhouse

Low Energy Houses

The clients had recently bought a small farm on the edge of Dalbeattie forest. There was a small farm cottage on the site which, while adequate for camping in during lambing season, was far too small to form their permanent home and required extensive refurbishment. 

Graeme Ditchburn Architect was approached, based on a word-of-mouth recommendation, after their initial attempts at seeking planning permission for a substantial extension had failed. The brief was for a large energy-efficient modern farmhouse which would provide a comfortable home for a 3 generation family. The clients were keen not to compromise on space. In order to match what their previous home provided, the house would need a floor area of 240m² – almost four times the size of the existing cottage. 

The starting point was to undertake an options appraisal, comparing the likely costs of refurbishing and extending the cottage with demolition and replacement. The different VAT treatment for new build houses favoured replacement. In addition, planning policy made it difficult to extend the house in a way which would have been acceptable to the local authority.

The new farmhouse features a single storey wing, roughly following the footprint of the original cottage, containing bedrooms, a snug and a farm office. A flat roofed entrance space links this to a 1½ storey wing containing an open plan farmhouse kitchen and separate utility room with more bedrooms above. The two wings are arranged to create a large south facing outdoor terrace. 

One of the clients’ requirements was a private south facing balcony accessed from the main bedroom. The roof of the house extends over this to provide a sheltered, timber-lined space which overlooks the farm. 

The house is heated by means of an air source heat pump while roof mounted solar panels provide on-site renewable energy generation. 

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