Description by architect: The project at Newbattle House has seen the renovation and extension of a 19th century stable block to form an artist studio and family garden room. Although the stable building itself is not listed, the adjacent church, former manse and boundary wall are all B-listed meaning a sensitive intervention was required.
The building was previously used as a garage and storage space for the adjacent church and the brief for the project was to reinvigorate the building by creating a new studio within the first floor former hay loft and a multifunctional living space at ground floor level. One challenge of the project was to engage with the mature garden to the rear of the building whilst still maintaining the character and charm of the original property.
The functional nature of the original form meant that only a single side door provided access to the garden with all other openings being located within the front elevation. The new extensions break free of this original form and create a strong connection with the garden: the ground level garden room expressed as a simple glass box and the upper level studio space reading almost like a ‘floating shed’. The stone wall itself peels back to allow these new insertions the required space and is stripped of its wet dash render to create a seamless connection with the existing garden wall.
The garden room connects back through the existing house via the main living space to the new kitchen and family room, drawing natural light deep into the plan. Two large sliding doors allow the main spaces to be divided down for more flexible use and openings to the front elevation have been rationalised to allow for a front entrance to the main living space.
The timber clad ‘floating shed’ cantilevers out over the garden and is accessed via a new external metal staircase. Internally the space is light and fluid, enveloped by a unifying white washed timber skin and, akin to its neighbours, ecclesiastical in nature, with a little ‘side chapel’ niche. The structural ceiling ties have been raised to enhance the sense of height and the simple timber palette continues to the floor.
The old stable block has been given a new lease of life in these joyous architectural additions and the client a flexible and energising living space.