Swallows Roost

The Genesis Design Studio, Winchester, 2019



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This project is a two storey extension to a grade II listed chalk cob and thatch cottage.

It comprises a garden room and toilet with a bedroom and bathroom above. The intention of the design was is to provide a sensitively designed extension that would not affect, diminish or detract from the existing building’s special interest being its plan form defined by the chalk cob walls with the central brick fireplaces and chimney.

Rather than create a structure which merged with the characteristics of the existing cottage a more honest approach was taken to create a subsidiary structure of a rather different form and finish so as clearly to distinguish the new and old work from another. The proposal therefore was intended to be a visually simple and obvious subordinate addition that acknowledged the strong symmetry of the existing building. An approach that also ensures that the origins of the building continue to be evident.

The distinctive form of the extension was in the main influenced by the shape of the existing rear thatched roof dormers. In plan the proposal utilises a recent rear corridor and toilet addition to link to the existing house thus not in any way interfering or affecting the existing fabric of the cottage. It was also the intention that the cladding material was to be reticent and not compete for prominence with materials of the existing. The chosen cladding material of oak slats had also sustainability in mind.

When the timber cladding material weathers to a natural grey colour, in the same manner as thatch, there will be a very subtle difference in colour and texture with the main roof. The oak has been coated with a product that assists with the weathering process. As the main house there are no visible gutters which also maintains the pure form.

Construction is based on passive house principles having high levels of insulation and air tightness. The base is a slab over insulation on which is a timber frame which is filled with cellulose insulation. There is minimal underfloor electric heating on the ground floor and a MVHR system. Windows are oak and Triple Glazed. Rooflights are Triple Glazed. Gable window Double Glazed.

Photography by David Barnes


  • Begun: Feb 2014
  • Completed: Sep 2019
  • Floor area: 70m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £120,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Procurement: self-build
  • Address: Swallows Roost, Winchester, SO22, United Kingdom