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To the Manor Born…

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Tim and Mairead Andrew house, Saintfield

Transforming Glasdrumman House

Glasdrumman House was built circa 1760 with a single storey range of outbuildings to the North of the house. The house has recently undertaken a makeover which comprised of  the complete internal and external refurbishment of the Georgian House and it’s adjoining Linear Barn.

Externally a glazed extension was added to the barn gable furthest from the road and built a new double garage connecting the barn and existing outhouses to enclose a new entrance courtyard.

The barn and house are juxtaposed creating a secure courtyard for playing and outdoor entertaining. The introduction of new glazed walls increases the connection between the house and it’s mature site.

Internally the ground floor plan was freed up to allow for flexible open plan living. Central to the barn is a new double height entrance hall which is flooded with natural light via full height glazing and roof windows. A secondary staircase leads up to a gallery walkway and generous master bedroom suite.

The Architect over this project was John Lavery of BGA Architects and here he discusses this project with us.

“Predominantly it was an existing house that we didn’t add any footprint to, we actually just reconfigured it. The history of the house was that it was a manor house at the front and it had been extended to at the rear and the rear extension linked the house to a long barn,” explained John Lavery.

“The front of the house has a very traditional Georgian front and it (the front) wasn’t directed towards the approach to the house so we wanted to redirect the house to the approach and within the long barn we created a double height entrance space off the new courtyard so really the only building we did when it came to this project was to create a new double garage to create a new courtyard and off that then is a new double height entrance hall so we basically carved out one third of the long barn to provide this really welcoming space,” added Mr Lavery.

BGA Architects are an RIBA Award Winning architectural practice based in Newtownards, County Down. The practice was established in 1984 by Brian Grahame and is now led by Managing Director, John Lavery. John and the team have considerable experience in designing various building types however most of our workload is in the residential sector. They strive to provide a professional and friendly service from inception to completion.  Chartered with the RIBA and registered with ARB, they are currently designing projects throughout Northern Ireland.

“It was a very labour intensive project  both in terms of design and specification point but also from the builder on site. The builders attention to detail throughout the project was fantastic. It was important to retain and enhance any traditional details and it was important to take and create a new modern approach when it came to new additions.

“The back of the barn is predominantly glazed and that houses a new living room which opens out on to the rear courtyard which is totally secure and above that living room is the master bedroom which has terrific views of the drumlins in County Down,” he enthused.

A drumlin is an oval shaped hill largely composed of glacial drift formed beneath a glacier or ice sheet and aligned in the direction of ice flow. Their formation remains controversial but in spite of this they are extremely useful for reconstructing former ice sheets.

“The manor house at the front didn’t really change as we added in an en-suite to a room which has become a guest bedroom. There were no real structural changes to the front of the house but there were significant structural changes to the rear return of the house to provide more living space within the house at ground floor level,” added John.

“We also introduced a lot more glass in to these areas and that is to try and bring the outside in and vice versa. We also had 600mm stone walls to work with which was a real heavy job. The barn underwent a major transformation as originally it had plaster work and there were fake beams in the plaster work so we used dried ash render and split the barn up with stone and timber cladding,” enthused Mr Lavery.

This project took 14 months from beginning to end with the owners able to move in to their gorgeous home in May 2017.

“There were no major issues with this build; the issues arose when we started opening up the existing structure and we found things that would be typical for a refurbishment of this nature. The roof of the main house needed to be re-roofed when we got on site and we also needed to rebuild two brick chimneys and they were the unforeseen things with this project.

“Since it was a major renovation and extension project, we took the opportunity to up the thermal performance of all the elements within the house so there is completely new glazing throughout the property, the walls have been insulated with plasterboard to improve the U-value and the roof has been insulated as well,” explained John.

“It’s a roadside property so there was great intrigue when the work was happening. The project took 14 months in total; we spent a chunk of time re-wiring and re-plumbing the house as well as removing an old front porch and digging out the barn as well as bringing the barn up to modern day standard and once we got the windows in we could see the house starting to come together. It was a fairly tight programme that we ran to.

“This house is in or around 6,000 square foot excluding the out buildings and we were never going to get it to perform the way a new build would so the house is coupled with a wood pellet boiler,” he added.

In terms of Mr Lavery’s closing thoughts on this project?
“We had a great team, the builder, the clients and I worked well to achieve this and I have to say we are very proud of this house. Whilst we didn’t build a lot when it came to this property we have made a number of significant changes that all add up to make it a very different property. It was a lovely project to be involved with, ” concluded John Lavery.