Whitehill Farm

Dunstable LU6 - UK


Whitehill Farm is a grade II listed 17th century farmhouse, located in Sewell Bedfordshire.

The main requirement for the project was to adapt the farmhouse to the client’s family living, which included two young children. The problem was that the barn living space was isolated at one end of the L shaped house, with the kitchen at the other end.

The first move was to remove the 1990’s alteration, to allow opening up the views through the house into the barn, changing the direction of the staircase and raising the 1990’s floor level in the end section of the barn. Additional conservation roof lights were to be added to allow more light into the barn. This achieved an open plan living area for the family, in the one area of the house that had originally been the ‘open plan’ barn area.

The clients wanted a modern minimal approach to family life set against the backdrop of an historical building. The key to this was simplicity, lots of light and storage.

The work started in September 2015 and was completed in March 2016.

The original brickwork, the timber beams were retained and treasured, and the white plasterwork was repainted to create a backdrop to the history and maximise the light. The central area of the three section barn space, was for the Bulthaup island kitchen unit, with all of the equipment in a simple white box. The food and crockery storage was in a simple tall bespoke kitchen unit in the far end of the barn. This space also has a modern Scandinavian log burning stove, the solid ‘white’ timber floor was imported from Denmark and the lights in this kitchen were also Scandinavian. Any other new lighting was very discreet and carefully designed not to clash with the historical timber and minimal backdrop.

The effect was to give a well lit space to live in, plenty of room for toys and a modern space for the client’s artefacts from their travels around the world.

And so, the result: detail, honesty and simplicity, a presentation and acknowledgement of 300 years of history and yet an adaptation to modern family life.