Case Study - Mews Cottage 

Modern convenience and conservation 

"Creating a modern home in a Listed Building" 
 
Keith and Gill Jackson’s newly renovated home was an unexpected outcome of a decision by their daughter and her family to move out of London to an old Rectory in Bedfordshire. 
 
As work got underway to convert the listed Rectory building into a family home, the idea for another lifestyle change took shape. 
 
Gill says: “After a while they suggested that we sell our house and move into what had once been the Rectory’s stable.” 
 
Previous renovations to the stable buildings were not very sympathetic, so Keith and Gill worked with an architect to develop plans for a complete refurbishment. Listed Building status meant that the process was detailed and time consuming. Once permission was received, the search began for a building company to deliver the quality and attention to detail expected by the local Conservation Officer. 
 
Keith continues the story - “Warin Larkin came round on an August Bank Holiday for a chat. Larkin Homes had done work on other properties in the village so we were able to see the standard of their work. We had quotations from a number of people which came in at about the same cost, but we liked the approach of Larkin Homes. 
 
“We lived with our daughter while the work was being done and it was really helpful to be on site. If anything came up, we could usually discuss it and resolve it there and then.” 
 
As a listed building, it was important that all the materials were properly researched and sourced. For example, Keith and Gill understandably wanted the highest modern standards of efficiency for the new windows in their home, but the usual 25mm cavity in the units had to be reduced to 12.5mm to meet the planning requirements. 
 
Keith says: “Nothing was too much trouble for them – they went to great lengths to source materials and made suggestions. As a listed building this added to the cost, but they priced everything for us and were helpful all the way along”. 
 
Not everything was straightforward during the project. Digging foundations for a new extension to the side of the property uncovered a buried tank, which was some 10 feet deep and square. Keith says: “No one knew it was there, but apparently they were not uncommon for Victorian buildings to store water. An engineer was on site within 24 hours and the solution was to fill the tank with concrete and carry on – which is what we did.” 
 
Work started in January and Gill and Keith moved in June. They have been living in the cottage for two years now. They particularly enjoy the light in their new home, with the sun in the living room in the mornings and in the garden room in the afternoons. The cottage is very much as they originally planned, with a few amendments that they made along the way. 
 
They say: “There have been very few problems, but Larkin Homes have always been very quick to respond to any issues. It all works really well. Everyone who comes in says ‘Wow! What a great place.’.” 
 
“Larkin Homes were brilliant. We even had a party for them at the end.”...read more 
 
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