When I obtained planning permission to convert our twin roundel oast house into a residential home with a granny annexe, I knew there would be lots of challenges. Therefore, my choice of building partner was critical. The work was well-planned and a detailed schedule of works was shared in advance, which meant any issues could be discussed early on. Any unforeseen circumstances were addressed constructively, and all options were discussed. I’m delighted with the end result. JBH worked hard to consider every detail within the scope and make sure Branden Oast is somewhere that anyone would be proud to live for many years.
JBH Refurbishments delivered the office to residential refurbishment of a period oast house in Kent to create a marketable family home.
Branden Oast is a period property on the outskirts of the popular commuter village of Marden in Kent. Since the 1990’s the oast house has been used as a commercial office. Having reached the end of the lease, the landlord was keen to revive this historic property as a large family home.
It would take a major overhaul of the interior to remove the traces of the original office fit out. The property also needed to meet current building regulations for residential use.
Choosing a fit out company that had both office and residential experience would be crucial to the success of marketing this magnificent building at the top-end of the property market.
JBH refurbishments was asked to quote for the office to residential refurbishment after completing the office fit out of another property for the same landlord. During the previous project, we had demonstrated meticulous attention to detail, quality craftsmanship, and competitive pricing.
Our proven track record of residential fit outs was also a fundamental influence. Consequently, JBH proved to be an obvious choice for this project. Naturally, we were delighted to take on the challenge.
Upon completing a survey of the property, we identified that the oast house required a full strip out. Before we could rebuild the interior into a sumptuous family home, everything that resembled an office had to be removed.
The entire building was stripped of its previous office identity. That included office partitioning, flooring, the old staircase balustrade, signage, windows and doors.
Once the building was stripped back to its shell, it became evident that there was a distinct lack of insulation within the property. It transpired that the plasterboard had been directly fixed to the brick walls and there was little insulation throughout the entire building. Immediately this posed a concern for us and the client.
The lack of insulation meant the building was drafty and the traffic noise from the nearby road would be a problem when selling this soon-to-be family home.
Not to be phased by the issue, we offered a solution. With the owner’s permission, the JBH team insulated the walls throughout. Stud frames were installed with high quality insulation to ensure this property retained heat and any traffic noise was kept to an absolute minimum.
During the stud wall installation, the roundel walls were without doubt the most challenging. To overcome the curvature, we had to embrace it, so we sourced flexible plasterboard. This attention to detail resulted in a seamless finish, which emphasised the quirky features of this traditional property, while offering a contemporary streamlined look.
With the insulation in hand, we turned to the heating, plumbing and power.
When purchasing a period property, there are always the concerns over something breaking or underperforming. But, the new occupants of Branden Oast can be rest assured that this property boasts a brand-new central heating system, plumbing, and electrical installation.
Complete with warranty and the appropriate certificates this house has all the perks of a new build with the characteristics of a period property.
The windows were equally important to ensuring Branden Oast would provide a warm and comfortable home. The former office building had timber windows, which were old and offered little insulation.
From consultations with the client, it was decided that UPVC windows would be the best solution. To offer a modern twist, the external frames were finished in grey, which complement the external weatherboarding. On the inside, the frames were specified with a white finish. This would ensure that the future owner’s interior design decisions are not limited.
Once again, the roundels were the main challenge when fitting the windows, as there wasn’t a straight edge to work from. Instead, we had to use the centre of the room to create angles that meant we could accurately fit the window frames.
The upstairs roundel was fitted with a Juliet window and glazed balcony, for uncompromised views over the Kent countryside.
The specification through the office to residential refurbishment was to deliver a marketable family home. Therefore, the décor needed to appeal to a broad range of tastes.
We used muted tones throughout the property. The walls were finished in antique white to off set the period features that make this property quirky and interesting, including the bare brick walls and oak beams.
The floors in the low impact areas, such as the bedrooms and sitting room were finished with a hardwearing quality carpet. In the high impact areas – including the kitchen, utility, washrooms and downstairs hallway – we used good quality oak effect laminate flooring, which complements the beams and upholds the building’s rustic charm.
So far, we have touched on the basics of how we refurbished the shell of this property to create a warm, comfortable, and neutral interior. However, there is much more to completing an office to residential refurbishment.
A residential property requires a homely feel, which can be difficult to achieve when converting an office to a living space. However, there are some key features that can help. One is of course is a fireplace!
What better addition to a family home than a warm and welcoming fire? It is the focal point of many period and new properties large and small. Yet Branden Oast was distinctly missing its very own fireplace. That is until we worked out magic.
In the sitting room, we built a full height brick fireplace, complete with hearth and oak beam. To complete the rustic appeal of this cosy room, we fitted a gas wood burner which sits upon the brick hearth. Now the sitting room calls for those cosy winter evenings in.
Like the fireplace, bare brick and oak beams are key features at Branden Oast. Throughout the building, we made a concerted effort to retain and repair the brick walls and exposed beams. All the while we were conscious of not allowing them to dominate the design or darken the space. Together the brick and wood give Branden Oast a homely and authentic country-style design.
The oak doors help to further enhance the look. While the oak handrails and spindles are a welcome replacement to the previous metal balustrades.
Branden Oast boasts impressive washroom facilities, including:
- Two ensuites – one with shower and the other with a full-size bath
- One family bathroom
- A downstairs shower and cloakroom
To maintain a consistent design throughout, the washrooms have been finished in a neutral colour palette, with practical surfaces, including ceramic tiles and glazed shower screens.
The introduction of chrome heated towel rails, shower heads and taps are a contemporary addition.
We all know that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where we cook, eat and entertain. With this in mind, there couldn’t have been a better space for the kitchen at Branden Oast than at the rear of the house.
The room at the back features a full height glazed wall that overlooks the garden in all its glory. In contrast, opposite is a bare brick wall that measures the full height of the building. It really is an extremely impressive room, one that delivers on every level.
To compliment the space, we fitted a neutral shaker-style kitchen with brushed stainless-steel handles, oak worktops and neutral ceramic tiles. We used the same units, tiles and worktop in the utility room for a consistent look. The stainless-steel double oven, with matching cooker hood are a modern alternative to the traditional country-style range.
Throughout the office to residential refurbishment, the emphasis on blending traditional with contemporary interior design has meant that Branden Oast is now a beautiful home that will certainly appeal to the modern family.
When I obtained planning permission to convert our twin roundel oast house into a residential home with a granny annexe, I knew there would be lots of challenges. Therefore, my choice of building partner was critical.
The tender process was extremely well orchestrated. We gave a lot of consideration to health and safety, experience, quality of work and value for money. I was delighted to award the work to JBH after all these things were considered.
I had worked with JBH Refurbishments on a previous job, where they built a three-story commercial office within an existing warehouse. I was very happy with the job they did and the aftercare service when issues arose.
The work was well-planned and a detailed schedule of works was shared in advance, which meant any issues could be discussed early on. Any unforeseen circumstances were addressed constructively, and all options were discussed.
JBH also dealt with the architect and Building Control very effectively, which helped minimise my involvement where possible.
Despite the extreme challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the work was still completed very safely, no corners were cut, and I’m delighted with the end result. It is clear to any buyer that the standard of workmanship is befitting of a luxury country residential conversion. JBH worked hard to consider every detail within the scope and make sure Branden Oast is somewhere that anyone would be proud to live for many years.
Whether you are looking to refurbish an existing office, or change the use of a property, we are the office refurbishment and fit out company of choice for businesses and Landords throughout Kent, London, Surrey and Sussex. Contact us today to find out more.
Photography: ©2020 David Michael Bellis / Blue Rock Fox / bluerockfox.com.