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Stunning Shropshire house makeover up for architecture award

By Dominic Robertson | Market Drayton | Property | Published:

It has revolutionised the way its owners lives their lives - and now a spectacular extension to a Victorian terrace in Shropshire could win its architect a major prize.

The retired teachers’ £91,000 project is up against multi-million developments

Retired teachers David Button and Lynn Newall had lived in their Market Drayton home for 30 years before they decided enough was enough.

They were sick of living in darkness at the rear of the house, with a one metre by one metre window offering scant illumination even in the middle of a summer's afternoon.

So they took on the services of Nescliffe-based form:form architects, with director Steve Hayward taking on the task of coming up with a design to transform their home.

The result is a spectacular creation, combining glass, space, corten steel and a nod to the town's gingerbread heritage, to completely change the way David and Lynn live their lives.

Steve Hayward's design work for form:form architects is up for a major award.

It is a design that has also received industry accolade after being shortlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects West Midlands Awards.

The list of nominees puts the £91,000 project up against multi-million developments such as Bennetts Associates work for Jaguar Land Rover on its Creation Centre at Gaydon, The Marstons Hub facility for young adults in Ludlow, and the Cullinan Studio for University of Warwick.

Stephen's work on David and Lynn's property has replaced a rear sitting room, single storey kitchen, lean-to garden store and external courtyard with a flexible open-plan space, zoned to provide a kitchen, dining and day space, larder, shower room and storage.

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David, 64, said: "We had been living for years with a window that was a metre by a metre wide with a small stream of light coming in the afternoon, having to sit in the dark with the lights on, even in the summer, looking at the our neighbour's wall covered in sun thinking 'we have got to get this sorted'."

The finished project

He explained that it had fundamentally altered the way they live in the house, and had even made lockdown a far more enjoyable experience as they enjoyed their new surroundings.

David said: "It has completely altered how we use the house and live our lives –every day is a holiday now."

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He added: "The rest of the house is a mid-Victorian terrace and suddenly you go through the back door and you're into something out of a magazine."

David said they were "really pleased" at what Stephen had created, and were delighted that his work had been shortlisted for the awards.

He added: "If we had not felt confident he was not going to do something we could have done ourselves then we would not have put our trust in him, but I think we were very lucky to get him."

The finished project

David explained it had fundamentally altered the way they lived in the house, and had even made lockdown a far more enjoyable experience as they enjoyed their new surroundings.

He said: “It has completely altered how we use the house and live our lives – every day is a holiday now. The rest of the house is a mid-Victorian terrace and suddenly you go through the back door and you’re into something out of a magazine.”

David said they were “really pleased” at what Stephen had created, and were delighted that his work had been shortlisted for the awards.

He added: “If we had not felt confident he was not going to do something we could have done ourselves then we would not have put our trust in him, but I think we were very lucky to get him.”

Stephen explained the challenges of the brief and his mission to create a "surprise space" at the back of the house.

He said: "This project was about making something affordable but extraordinary out of a very ordinary and common problem. The mid-terrace Victorian house came with the usual problems of restricted access and the desire to maintain natural light into the inner rooms.

"In early discussions the client also expressed the desire to retain the essence of the existing pitched roof over the tiny kitchen."

He added: "The clients brief was to create something special and different – to create a surprise space from the rest of the house."

The finished project

Stephen said the asymmetric design reflected the neighbouring Victorian roofs, and that the corten had provided perfect colour to complement the surroundings.

He said: "The roofline profile echoes the terraced pitched roofs which form the background context. A glazed junction helps to separate the new infill extension from the existing brickwork, providing a defined break between new and old.

"The use of corten for the main facade material helped us knit the new into the colour palette of the existing housing, this use of weathered steel and its rich patinated orange tones also references the original railway heritage of the house along with a subtle nod to ‘Gingerbread’, which is something Market Drayton is known for."

The winners of the awards will be announced later this year.

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