Steam-bent timber house from Grand Designs

The steam bent timber cottage in Cornwall

This unique timber extension to a listed cottage in Cornwall really put craftsmanship to the test

By Beth Murton | 5 January 2017

Tom and Danielle Raffield put their design and craftsmanship skills to the test when they built a steam-bent timber extension to their listed cottage in Cornwall on Grand Designs.

The Raffield’s ambitious project to transform their tiny four-room cottage in Cornwall involved adding a low-impact, beautifully designed timber extension, featuring the same exquisite craftsmanship used in Tom and Danie’s handcrafted furniture business.

This place has the potential to be Tom’s masterpiece; the summation of his life’s work,’ said Kevin McCloud when discussing the project.

Inside the Cornwall steam bent timber house from Grand Designs 2016

Photo: Paul Ryan-Goff

This Grand Designs steam bent timber cottage in Cornwall showcases the couple’s designs skills, determination and, above all else, their love of timber. ‘It’s fair to say that if you don’t like wood, then our house probably isn’t your cup of tea,’ says Tom. The stunning plot in Cornwall that Tom and Danie bought in 2011 was the culmination of a long-held dream for Tom, who has always wanted to own a piece of woodland.

The couple design and manufacture wooden lighting and furniture created using a traditional process of steam-bending, in which the application of heat and moisture is used to shape timber into beautiful forms; the woodland site offered them the space they needed to build a large workshop for their business.

A run-down, Grade II-listed gamekeeper’s cottage at the heart of the seven-acre plot became home for the couple and their son Beauregard, and then their younger son Bearwyn, too, although with their bathroom located on the opposite side of a courtyard and very little in the way of twenty-first-century home comforts, it fell some way short of being a suitable space for a young family.

Wood-clad bathroom inside the steam bent timber house in Cornwall from Grand Designs

Photo: Paul Ryan-Goff