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Parks Cottage

Presteigne, Powys

When Peter finally obtained planning permission with the help of local architect John Williams to demolish what was left of an old cottage, and replace it with a new dwelling to rent out as a holiday let, he engaged CROF ltd to design and build an oak frame, having enjoyed a previous collaboration on another project.

Parks Cottage

Presteigne, Powys

When Peter finally obtained planning permission with the help of local architect John Williams to demolish what was left of an old cottage, and replace it with a new dwelling to rent out as a holiday let, he engaged CROF ltd to design and build an oak frame, having enjoyed a previous collaboration on another project.

Excited by the structural and aesthetic possibilities of green oak he tasked us with creating something both functional and dazzling that would sit at the heart of the building. The internal frame would provide the structure around which a sip overcoat would be wrapped. We drew up some exciting frame design options for Peter, over which ultimately he had the final say. And having been involved in project management at the top end of motorsport for decades, he jumped fearlessly into the process of self-building, and the fact that this venture was “off-grid” only added to his enthusiasm!

Peter lives less than five miles from our workshop and once we’d started work on the frame, was able to pop round regularly to check on progress. For our part, we loved sharing the secrets of timber framing with a client who was so clearly fascinated by the process’

A main contractor was involved in the build right through from the early demotion to the final fit out. Peter is delighted with the results, and as you can imagine, this eye-catching holiday home is bearing fruit, with a steady stream of happy customers.

Brief

  • 150m2 three bedroomed new-build project managed by the client
  • Off-grid
  • Oak frame with sip wrap
  • Conceived and built as a holiday let where the oak frame is at the heart of the design
  • High energy efficiency imperative due to off-grid nature of the project
  • Vaulted ceilings with interrupted tie beam trusses upstairs
  • Design flair, creativity and expression

Timings

  • Workshop – six weeks
  • On site – two and a half days

Raising the frame was the two-day culmination of a fascinating and most enjoyable six weeks of manufacture and finally putting up the oak structure. But then, why would one get involved in such a large and time-consuming, never mind expensive project if one didn’t plan to enjoy the whole process.

I’ve known Rob since he was recommended to me for the construction of an oak decking, designed by John Williams, on the side of my existing house, which is next-door and a little way further up the hill. He came to install it in December 2013, and of course it snowed. It was this job that led me towards an oak frame for the cottage; with John designing it and Rob building it Oh yes, Les and his boys also did the footings for the decking as part of the landscaping for my house.

One of the marvels of the frame is the way Rob and his small team of Jacob and Remy have turned 16 tonnes of sawn oak into a complex and beautiful structure in just a few weeks. I had suggested to Rob that he shouldn’t hold back on the “fancy bits” and the end result, with its beautiful curved frames and wind braces, is just right. Standing inside the bare frame is like standing inside wood, surrounded by trunks with branches everywhere.

The two-day climax of raising the frame was just a wonderful experience and I found I couldn’t keep away from it for long, in spite of having other things to do! Rob was in complete control of the tricky process of lifting heavy beams from stacks around the site to their intended locations on the frame, and instructing and guiding his team to assemble the complex joints. The crane driver, Russell, was inch perfect and Rob alone communicated with him with a suite of hand signals, but never a word.

I’ve worked extensively with small, skilled teams in motorsport and this team was right up there with the best: few words (as with any small, skilled group, those they used were the jargon of timber framing) and coordinated actions. It was a delight to watch. The work was very physical and it was a weary team that completed each day.

Now the frame has been up to two weeks while we await the delayed SIPS panels. Many people have come to view it, often just dropping in as they pass by. It always seems to have an affect on those that come and view close-up, especially when they step inside the frame:

“Wow, it’s like a church!”
“How do they work out those joints?”
“Will you still see the pegs? They are beautiful!”
“Doesn’t it leak a bit?”

I can’t wait now to find out how it will look once the SIPS panels are up. From the outside it will become a monopoly house, but the inside will retain the magnificence of the frame.

Great job Castle Ring!

Do you want a quick quote?
Or to discuss your project?

If you're considering an oak framed building (or larch, or douglas fir), let's talk. We'll gladly put together an outline quote (completely free, with no strings attached). And we need very little information from you to do so.
Equally, we're always here, at the end of the phone, to talk through your ideas.

[email protected] 01547 560 231
Castlering Wood, Beggars Bush, Evenjobb, Powys, LD8 2PB