Recent Project

Ironstone New Build

"Design and Build" of a new house with an impressive character


An impressive new house built in traditional local ironstone

This is one of our completed new build stone houses. The customer had a strong vision of what he wanted and we worked closely with him on this “Design and Build” project to achieve a visually impressive house that fits with its surroundings.

The house comprises three storeys with leaded dormers in the roof. The first floor construction is block and beam to neutralise the sound and take the underfloor heating which has been installed throughout the house along with an air source heat pump.

The house is built in ironstone and features ironstone window cills and window heads complete with ironstone quoins and kneelers to the front porch area. These details add some grandeur to the house, and the ironstone, oak windows and doors, slate roof and lead dormers complement each other perfectly.

The project was completed on time and on budget to a fantastic standard.

We liaised constantly with the client throughout the build to ensure that the design, functionality and appearance of the build lived up to his expectations.

Project at a glance

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The full story

Case Study: New ironstone house in Litchborough, Northampton

Nick Graves was a very well informed customer who had a strong vision of the type of house that he wanted to create. As with all new builds, we had to approach the appearance sensitively to create a visually impressive house that would also blend in well with its surroundings. 

We looked at adding some environmentally friendly options like a ground source/air source heat pump and brown water harvesting tanks. Greener options always tend to help when it comes to the planning stage. The planners were happy with the appearance and plans for the house, and granted planning permission in 2011.

Technical and design choices

It was decided that we go with an air source heat pump due to the lower fitting costs. The work involved in the excavation of trenches or bore holes for the ground source heat pump was proving expensive.

We gave the council some stone samples and it was decided that we use sawn-on-bed ironstone for the outer skin of the house. Test panels were then built for the council and customer to view. This allows us to alter the mix of building sand, sharp sand, white cement and hydrated lime to alter the colour of the mortar in a way that enhances the stone, and keeps the council happy. The test panel also allows the customer to look at the sizing and coursing of the stone to ensure the best appearance. 

This type of stone gives a very clean finish but at the same time a heritage look with the darker appearance of the stone. Ironstone is very porous. We therefore had to apply a bitumen coat of paint on the outer skin of the block work to counter act any moisture coming through.

Building for style and comfort

The house was also fitted with ironstone window heads and cills and ironstone kneelers on the gable ends. This added some grandeur to the appearance of the house.

The floor construction on the ground and first floor was block and beam. The site sloped quite substantially, therefore lending itself perfectly to block and beam. Nick also wanted to fit underfloor heating on the first floor and also wanted maximum noise reduction below, so again the block and beam worked perfectly.

Tiles, windows, doors and floors

The building wasn’t situated in a conservation area so there were no planning constraints when deciding upon the type of slate to use on the roof. The customer decided upon a quality Spanish slate and black plastic guttering.

Nick asked us at an early stage within the build to splay the windows internally to give an older cottage feel to the house. Along with the timber handcrafted windows and doors, this worked perfectly, providing an interesting feature and letting in more light. 

The oak doors and flag stones laid on the ground floor provided a quality feel throughout the house and maintained the integrity of the building.

Managing to a successful conclusion

We liaised constantly with Nick throughout the build to ensure that the design, functionality and appearance of the build lived up to his and our high expectations. With forward planning, problems can be spotted and resolved at an early stage. With our experience in “Design and Build” we feel that we can advise upon the most functional and practical layouts that will work for your individual needs.

The project was completed on time and on budget. The relationship between Nick and ourselves remained very strong throughout the build due to fantastic communication and a good eye for the small details.

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