A two-storey extension in rural Wiltshire is the original building’s contemporary twin.

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Gaining permission to add a contemporary two-storey extension to a traditional stone cottage in Wiltshire, among an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is no mean feat, but that’s exactly what CaSA Architects achieved when Andrew and Lucy Thompson approached the practice to redesign their early nineteenth-century home in the Wiltshire countryside.

The couple gave the architects a fairly open brief for the two-storey rear extension, detailing the number of bedrooms they wanted as well as their desire for an open-plan family space and a covered outdoor terrace. The layout also needed to capitalise on the dramatic location of the house, with carefully placed windows to capture the most beautiful views.

‘Building in an AONB can be very restrictive, so it was essential to have the planners and local community on board with this project from the outset,’ explains Adam Dennes of CaSA Architects. ‘Initially, the local community was fairly sceptical about the proposed design, due to its size and contemporary style. To help allay any fears, we completed a landscape impact assessment, which involved photographing the site from a number of nearby locations and then generating 3D imagery to show how the property would sit in its surroundings. It helped immensely as it gave people something visual that they could relate to.’

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The pre-planning consultations paid off and the substantial design was approved on the first application. Positioned slightly to one side of the cottage owing to the location of the boundary line, the two-storey extension is a mirror image of the original building, replicating its simple form and gable structure. A narrow, fully glazed spine – housing the double-height entrance, hall and staircase – separates the old and new spaces. Outside, an oak canopy for the covered terrace wraps around two sides of the extension, allowing the couple to enjoy outdoor living whatever the weather.

To ensure the new addition is sensitive to its surroundings, local blue lias stone has been used for the lower half of the extension, providing a further visual link to the adjoining cottage. The upper level features cedar cladding that, like the zinc roofing, will weather to a mixed palette of soft greys, helping the house to recede into the landscape.

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The extension took around 10 months to build.  The couple then saved up to tackle the renovation of the original cottage, so the entire project took around three years to complete. ‘For Andrew and Lucy, the extended property is now an incredibly flexible home,’ says Dennes. ‘If it’s lashing down with rain they can retreat into the cosier rooms of the original cottage, or if they want to be in a light-filled family area they can head into the open-plan, contemporary extension. Whatever the time of day or their mood, there’s a place they can escape to.’

Words: Beth Murton, Photography: Simon Maxwell

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