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the courtyard houses

Conversions, Retrofit

Based on a word of mouth recommendation, Graeme Ditchburn Architect was approached by the owner of this traditional agricultural steading after a previous planning application for conversion had been refused. 

An alternative design was prepared which sought to retain the character of the original building complex as part of a conversion of the steading into 5 dwellings. As much of the original structure as possible was retained and the new accommodation was mostly incorporated within the footprint of the existing building, with 4 units arranged around the existing courtyard. A two storey former threshing mill on one corner provided space for fifth unit, featuring a contemporary timber clad extension to the rear containing an open plan living / dining / kitchen space. 

Proposals for converting the building needed to address a number of challenges, such as how to maintain privacy and avoid overlooking between the new dwellings. The privacy of two nearby existing properties needed to be respected and the building is also close to a busy trunk road. As is often the case with traditional barns and steadings, which were never intended by their original builders to be lived in by humans, the buildings have a narrow floor plan. The addition of new insulated wall linings would reduce this space further. The design therefore needed careful consideration, working within the constraints of the building and re-using existing openings as much as possible. 

Rather than locate car parking in the courtyard itself, it was decided to provide this around the edges of the site so that the courtyard could become a pleasant shared car-free space. 

The alternative design proposal, which was informed by a careful study of the existing buildings and a rigorous site analysis, was welcomed by the local authority and planning permission was secured in 2020. Familiarity with local planning policy, in particular the Supplementary Guidance relating to the conversion of traditional agricultural buildings, was instrumental to this successful outcome. 

The property is currently being offered for sale to potential developers through Threave Rural.

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