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Ferrari firm HQ and extended cottage win 2011 Buildings Design Awards

Wednesday 6 July 2011

The judges of this year's Chilterns Buildings Design Awards could not decide between the two best entries and so have awarded the top prize jointly to Kingsford cottage in Speen near High Wycombe and Little Green Street Farm, home to DK Engineering, near Little Chalfont.

Little Green Street Farm between Little Chalfont and Chorleywood was built in 1858 as a traditional Victorian model farm on the Chenies Estate belonging to the Duke of Bedford.  When the family-run firm of DK Engineering was looking for a new base to house their very successful business of restoring and servicing Ferrari sports cars the Farm looked like the perfect location. It took six years however before David and Kate Cottingham and their sons were finally able to purchase it in 2007.

The Cottinghams found the Farm in a state of neglect and near ruin when they moved in. A comprehensive restoration project was put into action which has taken three years and cost around £1 million and produced some very impressive results. The Victorian brick barns have been repaired and restored, re-using bricks from internal walls and re-pointing with traditional lime mortar. New window frames and doors hand-made in the Chilterns have been fitted and the roofs re-tiled with slate. The farm buildings now house modern offices, showrooms and workshops but on the outside the appearance of simple, traditional 19th century barns has been lovingly restored.

“We thought this was a really sensitive conversion and an excellent re-use of traditional farm buildings,” says Richard Wheeler, Chairman of the Chilterns Buildings Design Awards judging panel. “It shows well-judged restraint and a use of good quality materials and brings back the true character of the original model farm.”

Kingsford cottage in Speen is owned by Stuart and Jo Podmore, who bought it in 2005 from a developer who had planned to knock it down and put up a larger house. Despite the cottage being small and little changed since the 1950s, Jo Podmore, a professional architect, saw the potential to extend it to create a comfortable family home. She took inspiration from Speen’s past as a small village surrounded by Chiltern woodlands, home to bodgers, chair-makers and lace-makers, who carried out these traditional industries in wooden outbuildings constructed next to their cottages.

The award-winning extension is a two storey timber-clad building linked to the rear of the cottage that provides a light filled space. It includes a large kitchen with a glass wall, sliding glass door to the garden and two bedrooms above. The Podmores are keen that their home is as sustainable and energy efficient as possible and so reclaimed materials including joists and slates were used in the extension, a ground source heat pump was installed to provide hot water and heating, and traditional lime render was used instead of cement render.

Richard Wheeler comments:

"We thought this was a very well executed project which has created a contrasting modern addition to a traditional cottage but allows the spirit of the original building to be brought back."

The Chilterns Buildings Design Awards are offered jointly by the Chilterns Conservation Board and The Chiltern Society. They are given out annually to encourage the highest quality in the design and construction of buildings in and close to the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

A Highly Commended Award went to the conversion of a market place building into Tring Local History Museum. A Special Project Award went to Aylesbury Sailing Club for the extension and refurbishment of their clubhouse.

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