When an MMA client uses our services again and again, it is validation on both a personal and artistic level, and for us it is the highest compliment.
Not long ago we had the good fortune to work with longstanding clients on another of their homes. The couple had visited and become captivated by the Cotswolds, a rural area of south central England known for its stone-built villages, historical towns and stately homes and gardens. When they moved to Newport, their hope was to find a way to recreate all that they loved about the English countryside in a home here and, while looking, they were intrigued by a cottage they found situated on the grounds of an old estate. They engaged our services so together we could articulate their desire to live in their own bit of the Cotswolds on this side of the pond.
Converting a Kennel
Our first thought upon viewing this project was that we would need to respect the pedigree of the existing structure while renovating the building in a way that added beauty and functionality to an already charmed existence. The property had an interesting history: at one time the cottage had actually been used as a kennel—housing more than 40 prized Pekingese dogs belonging to the estate’s owner.
The main house of the estate sits several hundred yards away, providing the cottage a respectable measure of privacy. The cottage itself rests on several acres which include stone ruins, beautiful landscaping and peacocks that continue to roam and guard the property, emitting their distinctive calls when feeling threatened. This fairytale setting was initially designed to look and feel like the English countryside. Given that the existing architecture of the entire estate was English manor house in nature, it was a perfect marriage (and opportunity.)
The clients’ wish list was a complete renovation; they wanted the master bedroom moved to the first floor, a new kitchen, guest room, study, living area, dining area, and greenhouse. Our plan would need to accommodate all of these requirements while making sure the additions were in keeping with the structure’s original architectural vocabulary.
As with any historic restoration, one of the first challenges was matching existing materials to those whose provenance was more than 100 years old. Our client was adamant, for example, that we both match and preserve the existing clay roofing tile on the house. Finding clay roofing tiles that would match a tile created in the 1800’s meant us finding artisans who continue to craft and create tiles that way today. Working and moving about the landscape without disrupting the vegetation (or disturbing the peacocks) meant another level of care needed to be factored into the project.
How We Began—Process
We began to craft our architectural and design solutions incorporating the known challenges and utilizing a team of craftspeople whose work we knew would meet the standards of this project. The existing structure—the main cottage—had spectacular original details such as exposed timber and joinery that we wanted to preserve and echo in the new structures.
Our design solution was to leave the main cottage intact and build additional structures that would bookend the existing cottage, all the while maintaining the English cottage look and feel. Because we could never match 100-year-old tile with such wear and weathered character entirely, the adjoining structures were roofed in standing seam lead-coated copper, creating a complimentary counter-point that remained in keeping with English architecture. Our general contractor perfectly matched existing stucco walls, while new energy-efficient windows and doors unified the whole home.
We were able to enlist artisans and experts in the preservation, restoration, and re-creation of historic details. We used Ludowici for the clay tiles, which beautifully replicated and blended in with the original roofing. We worked with the master builder, Kirby Perkins, who realized our collective vision with unmatched craftsmanship, and Michael Coutu, from the award-winning Sudbury Design Group, was instrumental in enriching the landscape design. The interior designer on the project was Pat Lescalleet of Killingsworth & Co. Interiors, in Concord.
This team worked seamlessly and tirelessly to create the clients’ ‘new’ Cotswold manor – no easy feat given the precise nature of the requirements, but the results speak for themselves. This is a cottage to the manor born.
Learn more about our services and how we can help design your dream home or renovate your existing home. Call us at: 1(781) 861-9500