Betty's Cottage

Mark Dudek, Burford, 2020



Photography by Heather Gunn Photography     Download Original

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Betty's Cottage comprises a pair of existing thatched cottages (circa 1740) and a new contemporary extension at the rear that almost doubles the floor area of the original ground floor plan

Located within a civic conservation area (with a grade 2 listing), the cottages have been connected laterally and extensively remodeled, to provide three bedrooms, an existing lounge and two new bathrooms.

The new rear part has a kitchen/dining area with a play/storage-room that sensitively integrates the existing Victorian out-buildings into a spacious yet practical living area. A third distinct element is a low-scale glass 'pavilion' linking the cottage and the new extension, a pleasing architectural threshold between the two.

The new 'glass box' has openable floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door/windows providing a panorama of garden views, a haven for birds and other wildlife to be enjoyed over breakfast. The deep timber roof structure is exposed internally, rough sawn timber beams have been lightly sanded and coated with a series of water-wash colour layers in subtle creams and greys to give a light naturalistic feel that unifies the space. The external soffit is clad in Cedar battens, its depth support for a heavily loaded green turf roof of mixed wildflower meadow grasses. This helps to reduce rainwater run-off and encourage bio-diversity.

Natural insulation has been used wherever possible so that moisture is not trapped, rainwater harvesting from the rear part of the thatched roof is sequenced to provide garden irrigation during times of drought. On and around the cottage, a new thatched roof comes low to meet the warm Cotswold stone walls.

This aesthetic is further emphasized with the limited use of prefabricated thatch cladding panels developed in collaboration with the local thatcher. Damaged Oak floor boards, almost 300 years in use, have been up-cycled used for shelving and other none structural elements. New Oak flooring throughout has been locally sourced. An extensive ground source heat-pump adds to the development's green credentials.


  • Begun: Aug 2019
  • Completed: Aug 2020
  • Floor area: 97m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £208,000
  • Funding: private
  • Tender date: Jan 2019
  • Procurement: JCT Homebuilder's Contract
  • CO2 Emissions: 12kg/m2/year
  • Address: Taynton, Burford, OX18, United Kingdom