In this innovative renovation project, Gregory Kewish and Rebecca Sturrock built upwards to make the most of the vista from the roof of their Cornish timber cottage home.
A seven and a half metre-long picture window with a sliding door provides panoramic views from the living space, while a spacious office is tucked under the gable
Sometimes, the solution you need is right in front of you. Gregory Kewish and Rebecca Sturrock were struggling to sell their recently renovated house in Padstow, Cornwall, and were living in a small cottage on Rebecca’s parents’ land. ‘One evening, we climbed up to the roof to look at the view. We suddenly realised the potential of the timber cottage,’ says Gregory. ‘Straight away, we crunched the numbers to see what we could afford.’
Gregory, here with Rebecca and twins Billie and Ava, built all the furniture himself, including the dining table and benches
Gregory, who has a Masters degree in architecture from the USA, put together a design brief for the timber cottage. ‘We wanted to give ourselves more room and provide our twin daughters with their own bedroom,’ he explains. ‘The existing cottage only measured 42 square metres, so we needed extra space.’ He decided to use cross-laminated timber to cantilever a new house over the old building, which provides a bigger floorplan, while retaining its rustic charm. ‘We wanted a healthy home with lots of light, which captured the view across the Cornish countryside.’
To cut down on costs and gain experience, Gregory was keen to build the timber cottage himself, so he sourced a small German company willing to sell the timber to an individual. Together with a friend, builder Richard Mashiter, he kept to a tight schedule and the family moved in nine months after work began. The end result is a spacious, warm-looking interior, full of natural light, which Kevin McCloud described as ‘one of the most beautifully crafted houses I’ve ever seen’.
All kitchen and utility appliances are A++ rated and a boiling-water tap has been fitted so the family only heats the water they need
Photography: Paul Ryan-Goff