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Renovation Perfection

17.03.22

Turning a dilapidated, agricultural barn into a dream home, is all in a day’s work for Modh Design. Abode2 spoke to husband-and-wife team, Colman and Emma Cotter to find out more

When clients Sarah and Keith decided to build their own home, they enlisted the expertise of Modh Design. Modh took their Class Q barn conversion from inception to completion, turning a dilapidated, agricultural barn into their dream home.

Colman (RIBA Chartered Architect) and Emma (BAHons Architecture Graduate Diploma Architecture) first started working together in Kent back in 2004, when they studied Architecture together at Kent Institute of Art and Design at Canterbury, while working part time at a local practice. They moved to the Isle of Wight in 2009 and setup their own architectural practice six years later. Since then, the design team has doubled in size, to include Emily Ford (BA Hons Interior Architecture) and Ella Maskell (BScHons Architectural Technologist) who both bring their own strengths to the company.

From creative conceptual ideas and detailed design, through to more controlled technical detailing, project management and delivery; Modh’s range of services and holistic approach to every project has enabled them to deliver a high percentage of built commissions. Whilst the standard processes remain the same, Modh recognises that every client and project is different and as such they tailor their services to suit. Whilst some clients may only want some initial ideas to set them off on their creative journey, others may want assistance throughout planning, building control compliance, the tender process and construction management on site until completion. “We are totally brief driven and work closely with our clients to develop and deliver a comprehensive and creative solution for their individual requirements. We love what we do and enjoy the collaborative process of creating inspiring spaces for people to enjoy,” enthuses Emma.

With a diverse portfolio of award-winning projects under their belt, Modh Design have worked with an array of interesting private clients on new builds, renovations, conversions, and listed buildings. As well as working alongside local contractors to build many one-off homes, the company has worked on several commercial projects including Tapnell Farm Park, East Afton Wedding Venue, The Bandstand, Cowes Yacht Haven, Royal Yacht Squadron and Spinlock.

With Keith and Sarah’s big build, the challenge was to design a home within the constraints of the existing barn’s profile. Class Q planning guidance does not permit an increase in size or deviation from the original form, so the existing asymmetric shape and the agricultural setting were the principal driving force behind developing the project.

Emma began to carve out spaces within the existing volume, pushing several walls inward to generate some interesting outside spaces. She utilised the barns positioning within the site to maximise light, solar gain and natural ventilation, whilst introducing a double height interior space that celebrates the interesting shapes and structures. A large skylight was positioned above the open tread, ply stairs and the wash of natural light picks up the gravelly texture of the central spine wall from which the spaces flow around. With a nod to its agricultural setting, Modh specified exterior materials of steel, timber cladding and rendered concrete blockwork. Colman developed the many bespoke construction details for Building Regulations and Tender, as well as overseeing the project on-site during construction.

Keith and Sarah are now happily settled in their new home and are enjoying living in the spaces that have been created. With the repurposing of an existing barn on a brownfield site, a conscious commitment to green renewables was made. Technology such as air source heat pump, solar photovoltaics, and sustainably resourced materials were all implemented into the design. The kitchen garden area to the rear of the site, shows the working backdrop to a house that demonstrates that sustainably conscious, brown field developments do not have to be ugly, a compromise or half measure and can elevate a design towards a more sustainable conscious future, whilst still being beautiful, grounded in design and creativity.

www.modhdesign.co.uk/

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