Firs House is a spectacular Grade II listed property in Worcestershire, dating back to the seventeenth century.
One night, disaster struck when the owners were woken up by a strange sound coming from the attic…
“The lights went out and white-hot flames were visible around the trapdoor into the roof void. As we ran outside, we saw flames shooting from the roof and clay tiles dramatically exploding like shrapnel off the roof,” said the owner Penny.
The scene was devastating. The whole of the roof structure and first floor ceilings were destroyed beyond re-use with only two rafters remaining.
The major task of structural repair and rebuild was masterminded by Alex Matthews and Nick Joyce, partners at Nick Joyce Architects.
As part of the restoration, the original tiles were replaced by 6,000 traditional handmade plain clay tiles from Tudor Roof Tile Co Ltd.
Manufactured in ‘Medium Antique’, their gently uneven shapes gave an instantly aged and ‘olde world’ appearance closely reproduced the mellow tone and texture of the originals, in a way that machine-made tiles could not have done. Their gentle double camber also offered added ventilation to the roof space.
“The choice of roof tiles was an important part of restoring the external appearance and character of the building. We wanted to use traditionally made plain tiles with a weathered look that would immediately blend in with the historic appearance of the building and be acceptable to the local authority planning officers, said Alex Matthews.
A labour of love
For the owner Penny, rebuilding Firs House was a challenging but immensely rewarding experience. “To say it was a labour of love is an understatement. Completing this massive restoration has been a remarkable achievement, largely down to the expertise of our architect and the hard work and support of the contractors and manufacturers involved, particularly Tudor Roof Tiles.”