Kate Darby Architects et David Connor Design : Croft Lodge Studio

Trick or treat ! No doubt, if you knock on an evening of October 31 at the door of this house renovated by architect Kate Darby with the help of designer David Connor, you may experience some chills. And for good reason: under its metallic skin, this charming little house conceals a legacy to be cold in the back ...

It all started in January 2014, when Kate Darby and David Connor were given a rather special mission: to renovate an old cottage and its adjoining stables in Herefordshire, a county in the west of England. But "renovate" may not be the correct word here, because although the 300-year-old building is in ruins, it is classified and therefore protected. “Our strategy was not to repair the existing one, explains Kate Darby, but to preserve it in its entirety, which included rotten beams, ivy, old bird nests, cobwebs and even dust. "

A die-hard bias, but on which the success of the project is based. For this, the designers have imagined an envelope similar to that of French farmhouses - characterized by their gable roof - and which adapts perfectly to the volume of the original construction. Made up of a metal skeleton and OSB panels covered with corrugated iron, this case protects the remains of the cottage like a reliquary with the bones of a saint. In addition, reinforcements are added by the architects to secure the two frames - the old one, in wood and the new one, in steel - and thus prevent the dilapidated sections of walls from collapsing on the inhabitants, thus making this achievement a real haunted house.


Inside, contemporary furnishings make effective use of the 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 upstairs, partly still existing. And if for the moment 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 place. Thus, two stoves - one of which is placed in the hearth of the old fireplace - are used to heat large volumes, while photovoltaic panels supply the whole with electricity. What to see clearly, at night, when vampires and other werewolves knock 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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