Old School House: Sustainable Timber Extension Enhances Picturesque Property








Bindloss Dawes, a renowned British architecture firm, has unveiled a remarkable transformation of the Old School House in Somerset, UK. This Grade-II listed property, originally built in 1864 as a local village school and later converted to a house, has been reimagined with a contemporary timber extension that seamlessly blends the building’s historic character with modern design.

The project, which was completed in close collaboration with Farrow & Ball color curator Joa Studholme and her husband Andrew, showcases Bindloss Dawes‘ dedication to craftsmanship and their ability to balance city and country sensibilities in their work.


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About Old School House

In a captivating blend of heritage and modernity, award-winning architecture firm Bindloss Dawes has unveiled a remarkable renovation of the Old School House, a Grade-II listed property nestled in the picturesque Somerset countryside of the United Kingdom. This 2023 project seamlessly combines the building’s original 19th-century character with a contemporary timber extension, creating a harmonious living experience.

Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future

Bindloss Dawes, known for their exceptional attention to detail and material compositions, collaborated closely with client Joa Studholme, a Farrow & Ball color curator, and her husband Andrew to breathe new life into the historic structure. Originally built in 1864 as a local village school and later converted to a house in the 1940s, the property had undergone a poorly planned extension in the 1970s, which the architects set out to address.

A Carefully Crafted Timber Addition

Drawing inspiration from the original building, Bindloss Dawes designed a contemporary timber extension that seamlessly integrates with the existing structure. The new addition, crafted from a highly insulated and cost-effective timber frame, is clad in elegant English sweet chestnut, a sustainable and weathered material that complements the stone of the main house. The vertical and horizontal cladding patterns create a visually striking composition, with hidden gutters allowing rainwater to drain away.

Thoughtful Design and Panoramic Views

The thoughtfully placed windows in the extension offer panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, with the primary bedroom serving as a serene retreat overlooking the rolling hills. Each room on the lower floor features a unique aspect, capturing sunlight and framing the picturesque valley at different times of the day.

Harmonious Connections and Sustainable Solutions

A smaller, glazed building connects the old and new, creating a seamless transition between the historic schoolhouse and the contemporary extension. Constructed with a free-flowing staircase and a mix of micro-cement and rough-sawn chestnut, this transitional space enhances the overall flow and harmony of the home.

Sustainability has been a key consideration throughout the project, with the new extension boasting high levels of insulation to reduce heat loss. The thermal separation between the existing listed schoolhouse and the new building allows for independent heating, coinciding with daily use. The use of locally sourced, sustainable timber for both the structure and external cladding further reduces the project’s environmental impact.

A Timeless Tribute to Heritage and Design

The transformation of the Old School House stands as a testament to Bindloss Dawes’ exceptional ability to integrate contemporary design within historic settings. By respecting the heritage of the original building and enhancing it with their innovative approach, the architects have created a home that beautifully balances the past and the present, offering a timeless living experience that will endure for years to come.

Photography by Francesca Iovene
Visit Bindloss Dawes


– by Matt Watts



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