Arboreta oak frame garden room on cottage

A beautifully oak glazed garden room and cottage conversion became part of the winning solution for Sarah and Guy Bowden, who had originally set out to knock the original cottage down and start again.

When their idea was vetoed by the local planning authority, extending and renovating the existing space became the only way forward – and in a design kept under close scrutiny by the council throughout the design process.

Tiny inside and next to a cramped pigsty, the couple were keen to maximise the space, increase the light and replace the old roof with a visible oak structure.

The couple had already selected Welsh Oak Frame for the project after chatting to the team at an exhibition.

‘Welsh Oak Frame were the only ones on our wavelength and who had the flexibility to combine oak with softwood framing,’ says Sarah.

Sarah and Guy put together some sketched drawings, working closely with their planning consultant and the local planner. The design made use of the footprint in the old lean-tos and pigsty, mindful that the total volume calculation also included wall thicknesses and the chimney stack.

‘Welsh Oak always made us feel like it was our house not their design,’ says Sarah. ‘They were so mindful of our budget that we could afford to change the softwood in both new buildings to exposed oak rafters. We now have a gorgeous music room and a glazed garden room with beautiful views – neither feel like add-ons but integral to the house.

‘We’re so glad we retained the old cottage, our home is absolutely gorgeous, we love all the oak,’ says Sarah. ‘We oil the outside timbers each year, which sounds like a chore, but it’s very rewarding to see the house keep its beautiful golden colour.’

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