La Frene

DLM Architects Ltd, St Martins, 2017


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Simon Boucher Harris     Download Original

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La Frêne is a derelict traditional Guernsey barn transformed into a two-bedroomed home.

Key requirements were to provide a low-maintenance, high-performance building offering a variation of spaces and maximising orientation. Internal excavation afforded a generous internal volume, lined with a locally fabricated oak frame, memory of the original structure.

The ground floor provides south-facing open living and dining, a snug, cloakroom and study. Above features two ensuite bedrooms and a south-facing balcony beyond the retained party wall.

All demolished stone was reused within the extension; original blue granite cobbles were face-cut to provide a floor finish, with the bases used as coins around new openings.

An original pad stone cut into the structure provides a small seat. Externally all granite has been repaired, rebuilt, and lime-pointed. Reclaimed Welsh purple slate covers a 150mm Kingspan warm roof. Internally, the walls are fully lined to eaves with delta membrane and 100mm insulation.

The floor is insulated above the slab, with 40mm recycled glass screed incorporating underfloor heating and tumbled travertine laid over.

The initial challenge was to stabilise the large ash, forcing against the original structure, while retaining maximum available footprint. Every available pocket of space was utilised with built in storage and bespoke joinery details to maximise the useable space. There were also the challenges of working within the party walls to four neighbouring properties and legal requirements attached to the conversion.

The result exceeded client expectation; a small high quality home designed to accommodate her needs in later life. It has provided a solution she was unable to find on the market, for less expense, and added significant value over the original investment.


  • Begun: Aug 2016
  • Completed: Jul 2017
  • Floor area: 104m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £220,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jun 2016
  • Procurement: Construction management
  • Address: La Frene, La Croute Lane, St Martins, GY46QE, United Kingdom