In August 2018, Stephen Waldron Architects was commissioned to design, obtain detailed-planning consent, and provide a full set of construction information for the conversion of a small stable block into two holiday cottages. The clients had recently bought a farmhouse and adjoining land, which included a small outbuilding and had well-developed plans to run a small tourism business in this very remote location in the Brecons.
They had bought the land and property from the adjoining farmer, and Stephen Waldron Architects had obtained planning consent for the conversion of a courtyard of large barns into holiday homes. The clients were also very impressed with our designs!
The property is at the far end of an adopted country road with views across a gently sloping valley running north-south. There was a flat area beyond the stables, cut into the hill, which they had already turned into a vegetable and fruit garden with raised beds. The stables were to the north of the farmhouse and there was additional car parking beyond.
Since the project started our clients have created a lake in the fields below the cottages, and are generating a path network to activity areas within the woodland including seating and barbecue areas along with hammocks.
We carried out a full digital archaeological survey and record of the buildings for CADW (this historic environment service of the Welsh Government) and organised the bat survey.
The building is stone-built and single-storey with likely hay and straw storage areas above used by a previous owner to breed prizewinning Hereford bulls. At each end, there was a lean-to element that was not part of the holiday accommodation but was to be retained as management, plant and storage areas for the client.
At the rear of the stables, a further lean-to had been added, or may even have been original, and from this, there was a semi terraced patio area which was in poor condition and falling away. There were significant cracks in the main structure which needed to be repaired The front roof was slate and the rear corrugated steel and it was decided to keep these finishes.
Our sketch designs identified the best solution as splitting the stables into two 1–bedroomed cottages. Each had a bedroom with an ensuite shower room and wardrobe on the upper floor, with the main living room beneath focussed on a log burner. This space led to a rear kitchen/dining area giving direct access to the rear patio area with a log burning hot tub and views across and along the valley. The rear area was strengthened and rebuilt and the entire building was brought up to the highest insulation standards with underfloor heating.
Stephen Waldron Architects navigated the planning application process successfully including adding an additional window on the first floor – something normally strongly resisted on existing barns and agricultural buildings.
Our clients are very creative and run an up-cycling furniture business; the interior has been fitted out beautifully for Airbnb lettings which started in July 2021 as we emerged from the Covid pandemic.
Our clients are delighted with the finished product and it was a very successful and good working relationship.