Rothermead Cottage High Weald
  • Full refurbishment with new loft conversion
  • Reconfiguration of rooms
  • New loft conversion with mansard window
  • High Weald AONB
  • Architecture and project management
  • Interior Design

Rothermead Cottage forms part of a pair of semi-detached dwellings in a country lane near Mayfield, Kent. Our clients appointed us to help them refurbish and update the cottage as a new base for their retirement.

The cottage had charm but was looking very unloved and the client was keen to sensitively update the house without losing its intrinsic rural appeal.

The existing layout was constrained by a collection of small rooms without any natural flow, a single-storey side extension had been added more recently and a fairly unsuccessful loft conversion with challenging ceiling heights accessed via an eccentric staircase.

The main utilities all needed updating and walls, floors and roofs insulating, floor levels needed to be reconfigured and made level as well as new windows and doors as part of a complete refurbishment.

In planning terms the house had a series of potential constraints that had to be carefully navigated at application stage. The cottage is located in the High Weald AONB, is subject to an Article 4 directive and had a public right of way located at the northern boundary.

A pre-app was submitted to gauge reaction to a series of additions; a timber-clad mansard to a new loft conversion, new steel-framed windows and glazed doors and new conservation rooflights.

The main house and the side extension did have steep roof pitches, which presented the opportunity to create additional height by removing the existing low ceilings and taking the ceiling line up to the underside of the roof pitch, providing a more spacious feel and additional light through new rooflights to the kitchen and a new mansard window at the rear to the loft.

It was agreed the existing staircase would be retained as it leads naturally off the front door and hallway. The existing exposed brick fireplace became the centre piece of the new snug panelled hallway. An ageing existing kitchen at the rear was removed and this space now houses a new utility room and cloakroom/wc.

The most dramatic change was to the side extension where the existing cross wall and ceiling were removed entirely creating extra space in height and length for a new kitchen and dining area, with glazed doors leading out onto the garden.

The original attractive brickwork was exposed as a double height feature within the new kitchen. New rooflights were installed at the rear to bring in more light at high-level.

At first floor the layout was largely kept as the original four rooms, forming two guest bedrooms and a study. The fourth room was reduced a little in size to create the new family bathroom and here wall and window positions were adapted to allow a new bespoke staircase to the loft.

The new bathrooms feature encaustic wall and floor tiles and a mix of reclaimed and vintage sanitaryware. Natural sisal carpet was laid to the bedrooms with a runner to the new staircase, and individual walls in the guest bedrooms have feature wallpapers, mostly hand or block printed in a more rural style.

The existing loft conversion was demolished and a spacious new master suite created with concealed storage built-in within the new mansard picture window, which frames the views over the pasture and woodland beyond.

A mix of interior styles and finishes reflect the different ages and feel of the house; a contemporary rustic to the new kitchen and loft room and a more eclectic mix to the old house.

The clients had an extensive collection of original artwork and the location and integration of particular pieces had to be carefully considered.

The kitchen, hand-built by a local joiner, has shaker-style panelled doors with terracotta tiled splashbacks, a concealed walk in pantry leads off the main area through v-groove panelled doors. New steelwork to the exposed brick wall is also left visible and painted.

A new panelled wall runs almost the whole length of the ground floor, v-groove panelling has been used to clad the wall, concealing secret flush doors to the new cloakroom and utility room.

New smoked, distressed oak flooring was laid to most of the ground floor, with clay tiles to the utility room and sisal to the lounge.

By carefully retaining well-chosen original features, the historic appeal and charm of the cottage has been retained, and the improvements and refurbishment of the house ensure it has a viable future.

This original cottage, which felt dated and unloved, has been transformed into a clever, quirky, family home using earthy finishes that blend with the rural location.

Who we are expand_more expand_less

The Vawdrey House is a multi-award winning RIBA Chartered Practice which offers a dynamic combination of bespoke design, strategic thinking and creative flair. We bring both architecture and interior design together to create unique, beautiful spaces which work for you from the inside out.

Our clients are always at the heart of our ‘top to toe’ design approach.

We work closely with you from the outset, leading you through the design stages, providing support at each stage and following everything through so that even the smallest details are considered and refined.

This is what we believe makes a great design even better.

Whether for a refurbishment or new build; a residential or commercial space, we take the time to get to know you, understand your requirements, and find clever, exciting solutions to your brief.

Our design-led, holistic approach means we always asses how the whole building works and how it is used. We explore functional and layout changes to improve the way the spaces work together. We design the exterior architecture, internal layouts and all the interior design right down to the lighting, fittings, furniture and accessories.

Working across London, the South East and beyond, we have a wealth of experience working with complex sites and period buildings with heritage protection. We approach each project with a combination of creative vision and sensitive pragmatism; always searching to get the very best from a building.

Directors Jennifer Hamilton, Graeme Montague and Ian Chapman have a combined experience in the industry of nearly 70 years. Together with our strong, enthusiastic team of architects and designers, we bring an invaluable level of professionalism and creativity to the design and management of your project.

The Vawdrey House has an exciting portfolio of inspiring spaces and happy clients. We are passionate about what we do and most of all, want you to love it too.

Close affiliations with brand consultants plus graphic and web design teams mean we can also provide a fully coordinated scheme for your retail or business space, down to website, menus or signage, whatever is required.

We work closely with you throughout, following everything through to the smallest detail, and helping you through the process.

We are design-led, and like to review the way the whole building works, understanding how you use the spaces and suggesting functional and layout changes to improve the way the spaces work together. We design the exterior architecture, the internal layouts and all the interior design and fittings, right down to furniture and accessories.

We progress the design in stages, working up the outline usually with a multitude of options in the first instance, then gradually firm up the scheme as you clarify which direction you want to go in.

Once we have the overall scheme in place we work into the detail and start to specify every element, ending in a production package incorporating everything you need to tender and construct the project.

We can also manage the entire process for you, putting together the project team, gaining planning consent and party wall awards, finding contractors, tendering the works, managing the building contract and monitoring the works on site.

We stick with you to the end, ensuring all snagging is resolved, and produce a completion pack with all necessary certificates, guarantees, maintenance and supplier contact info so you have everything in one place.

Have a browse through our latest projects and see the end results!

Contact us

The Vawdrey House Ltd Freshmill, 16 Bridge Rd Haywards Heath, RH16 1UA studio@thevawdreyhouse.com
A RIBA Chartered Practice
Jennifer Hamilton: 07884 366206 Graeme Montague: 07721 844 602 Ian Chapman: 07973 422428