Kate Darby Architects et David Connor Design : Croft Lodge Studio

Trick or treat ! No doubt, if you hit an 31 October night at the door of this house renovated by architect Kate Darby with the complicity of the designer David Connor, you may have some chills. And for good reason: under its metallic skin, this charming little house conceals an inheritance to make cold in the back ...

Everything starts in January 2014, when Kate Darby and David Connor are given a special mission: to renovate an old cottage and its adjoining stables in Herefordshire, a county in the west of England. But "renovate" is perhaps not the exact word here, because although the old building of 300 years is in ruins, it is classified, thus protected. "Our strategy was not to repair the existing, explains Kate Darbybut to preserve it in its entirety, which included rotten beams, ivy, old birds' nests, cobwebs and even dust. "

An extreme bias, but on which the success of the project depends. For this, the designers have imagined an envelope close to that of the French longhouses - characterized by their roof with two sides - and which perfectly adapts to the volume of the original construction. Consisting of a metal skeleton and OSB panels covered with corrugated iron, this case protects the remains of the cottage as would a reliquary with the bones of a saint. In addition, reinforcements are added by the architects to secure the two frames - the old, wooden and the new, steel - and avoid the walls of dilapidated walls to collapse on the inhabitants, then making this realization a real haunted house.


Inside, contemporary amenities take advantage of brick ruins. It is on the ground floor of this old enclosure that the living rooms are installed, while a mezzanine bedroom has found its place on the floor, partly still existing. And if for now no testimony has confirmed the presence of spirits other than those of small insects, it is however certain that modern comfort has taken possession of the premises. For example, two stoves - one in the hearth of the old chimney - heat the large volumes, while photovoltaic panels supply the whole with electricity. What to see clearly, at night, when vampires and other werewolves come knocking on the door of the Croft Lodge Studio ...

To learn more, visit Kate Darby's website et by David Connor

Photographs: James Morris

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