Slackwood Farmhouse is a Grade II* listed farmhouse in Lancashire which had fallen into disrepair and was highlighted by English Heritage as a Building at Risk has been saved through the efforts of its new owners and their appointed team including Paul Archer Design.
The house has been restored and extended with a curved glass and zinc clad garden room, which commands expansive uninterrupted views of the surrounding landscape and provides the ideal space for bird watching, a favourite past time of the owners.
The new structure is designed in a contemporary idiom and is connected to the house and a small outbuilding (the bothy) by a simple glass link building, which creates a new light-filled dining space. Strikingly contemporary in its form and materialisation, the architectural approach has been to distinguish the new additions to the property from the original architecture so that the old house stands proud in the landscape and the new garden room projects out into and nestles itself into the undulating landscape.
Small alterations have been made to the house to reinstate its grandeur and to dramatically improve its thermal efficiency. On the main elevation bricked-in window openings have been reinstated, restoring the symmetry of the south facing entrance elevation and bringing more light in to the property. All exterior walls including those within the garden room and link building are preserved with a lime wash replacing the cement render.
The refurbishment acknowledges that the building’s rich history is preserved in the patina of its materials and surfaces and it doesn’t attempt to mask these, exposing the charred beams in the master suite as evidence of an old wooden smoke hood. Celebrating the forensic nature of the redevelopment a number of serendipitous discoveries have been incorporated in to the design including: a well in the farmyard and a second well under the garden room, which has been capped with a glass top in the tiled floor; a smuggler’s hide discovered in the master suite is now accessed from a hatch in the room above; in the bathroom the old smoke hood has been resurrected with a new glass panel and in the library a ‘secret door’ within the bookcase replaces an original doorway which was filled and concealed from view.
Heating is now supplied by a wood pellet burner located in one of the outhouses and a new heat recovery ventilation system contributes to energy efficient whilst allowing the old structure to breathe.
The practice worked closely with Blackett Ord Conservation Architects initially, and then post-planning with Donald Insall Associates to deliver this project.