Conversions and Historic Buildings

The Practice has a wide experience of working with Listed buildings and other historic structures. These range from small scale domestic properties to Listed hotels and other commercial buildings. Similarly the Practice has a wide experience of converting buildings to both domestic and commercial uses from former barns, factories and warehouses. Giving these buildings a new life presents many opportunities to work with and contrast to the historic fabric of the original building. Some examples of our work in this field can be seen below.


Project One

Forming part of the former Home Farm development near Follifoot, this barn conversion aimed to make the most of its views down the Crimple Valley. This was achieved with a contemporary Living Room that opens up to the view and external spaces. This contemporary theme runs through the interior which features a large open plan Kitchen/living/dining room, Crittal doors and screens as well as a bespoke staircase.


Project: Two

The former agricultural building converted in this project is located in the Nidderdale ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and had previously received Planning Permission for conversion to a dwelling. The scheme however lacked flair and did not respond to the character of the existing building, hiding this away and creating a series of small rooms more appropriate to a more urban building. Comprised largely of the conversion of the existing 2 storey barn, a modest one and a half storey extension to the rear of the property provides additional accommodation. The interior opens up into an open plan dining, living and snug space with a focal stove which rotates to address either the living space or snug. Natural materials were used extensively throughout with oak flooring, staircase, beam and screen details and natural limestone flooring in other locations complementing the original timber roof structure. Concealed lighting also adds to the effect of these features. Within the surrounding paddock area, a ground source heat pump was located, ensuring that the house makes little impact on the environment. The property now forms an individual home that respects its agricultural origins and the distinctive qualities of the area.


Project: Three

Merrell O’Flaherty Dormer Architects have worked extensively with properties across Yorkshire for 30 years. For this project we applied our long standing design expertise to the conversion of a typical 1980’s barn. The original building was constructed for the storage of grain on Rudding Park Estate. Long redundant, it offered the opportunity to be creatively reused under Class Q Permitted Development rights, which allow redundant agricultural buildings to be converted into residential properties. Our intent was to create a spacious home that made best use of the site whilst embracing the characteristics of the existing building.

The original building’s inherent qualities are expressed in a contemporary manner, the spaces responding to the opportunities and challenges which the original form presented. Taking the monolithic form of the original structure and boldly ‘cutting’ back at two of the corners exposes and expresses the ‘skeletal’ steel frame externally, whilst in turn framing the stunning views from the property. To assist with bringing light into the core of the deep plan, large glass Crittall screens are located at the ends of the central Hallway, constantly presenting views out and bringing in light. A coffered ceiling over the stair, with discreet LED lighting subtly enhances the quality of light in this central part of the house. Spatially, we aimed for the conversion to be a series of interlinked spaces, each with their own character. Sightlines make the most of the panoramic views which are framed by large glazed screens and doors. These appear like large scale paintings along the walls of the rooms bringing colour and ever changing light from the vast open aspect.  

Externally, sawn Western Red Cedar boarding at high level has a ‘pre patinated’ finish (by Sioo) that allows the boards to fade to an even, soft grey. To balance this, and to add warmth, the lower panels are of Ibstock Linear ‘stretched’ bricks to exaggerate the scale and add texture. This brickwork ‘folds’ to run internally giving a robustness to the interior, whilst the contrasting ‘jewel like’ glass, stainless steel and walnut staircase was designed to give the impression of floating within the space. Elements such as the internal doors, Kitchen, Bathrooms and lighting have been specified to give them a sense of restrained luxury.

Church Farm benefits from integrated data, high tech kitchen appliances and automated curtains. This is particularly evident in the Kitchen where a 4.2m long single blind rises to reveal a full width panoramic window. Contemporary log burning stoves have also been integrated to lend a cosy and more intimate feel to the living spaces.

To reduce the house’s carbon footprint, it is highly insulated with both heating and hot water being provided by a Ground Source Heat Pump. The original structural elements have been retained and reused along with the former low level external concrete and flint cladding panels which have been used in the landscaping.

As well as requiring the building to have a low impact environmentally, we also wished it to sit within the wider landscape in the same manner as it did when used for agriculture. With this in mind, the surrounding field runs up to a ‘reverse’ Ha-ha created with gabion baskets filled with a local stone which creates the illusion of the field extending right up to the building when viewed from a distance.

All together, Church Farm has created a distinctive and characterful home on this unique site that adds a 21st century layer to the historic village of Follifoot.


Project: Four

Following a number of years in decline, this property and land was purchased by our clients as their family home. Built in four distinct phases, 17th, 18th, 19th Century and a small flat roofed 20th century structure, the house lacked a coherent layout. The 20th Century addition had also caused structural and water ingress problems into the more historically sensitive areas. The proposals therefore centred round the removal of this element and its replacement with an atrium space that provided a hall that linked all the remaining elements. A bridge across this space at first floor level also contributes to this light, airy space. A comprehensive restoration of the existing accommodation was then undertaken, preserving and enhancing many of the existing features while providing the accommodation required by a family in the 21st Century. The result is a house in which all the spaces are used and the quality of the property appreciated every day.


Project: Five

Developed over a number of years and four phases, this project has included the conversion of a large and distinctive two storey stone barn, with attached gin gang on one gable, together with a complete quadrangle of brick outbuildings. The barn and gin gang form the heart of the house, whilst the remaining buildings have other functions relating to family activities. The enclosed courtyard gives the owners a very private and sunny garden space, whilst beyond this the buildings stand in a generous site with wide reaching views. Internally all of the buildings have been sensitively converted, utilizing many of the original features, most notably the oak trusses.