Look inside a Cotswold stone barn conversion near Lechlade
- Credit: Heather Gunn
It was love at first sight 13 years ago when London-based David Carden saw the Cotswold stone barn near Lechlade, with its double-height ceiling and timber beams
It was not only the beautiful location, but also the huge main room, that sold Poplar Barn to David Carden and his late partner Neil Ray 13 years ago.
‘This room had been converted from a Grade 2-listed Cotswold stone barn before we arrived, and as soon as we saw the double-height ceiling and mass of beams we knew we had found home,’ says David. ‘I love the height and space, and despite its size it’s very cosy at night thanks to the log burner.’
The couple had been living in a flat in London and weekending in their Cotswold cottage which they had extended as far as possible before realising they needed to find a larger property.
‘Much of my working life has been in property renovation, interior design and space planning. One of the advantages of the barn was its space. I saw its potential immediately. It had just been converted so the hard work was done and all I needed to do was to add my stamp to it.’
The slate-roofed barn near Lechlade also came with an attached converted granary and a ranch-like extension with just over an acre of land. The extension had been added at the time of the conversion and contained a kitchen, utility room and master bedroom.
‘The barn had been owned by a farming family and was in a poor state when the developer took it on. I believe both barn and granary date from the 1700s,’ says David. ‘We just fell in love with the location, the secluded garden and all the rooms.’
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Soon after moving in, David started work. ‘I neutralised the interior,’ he says. ’There was too much exposed pine woodwork and oak timber flooring which echoed when we walked on it. So I removed the engineered oak boards, giving half to my mother and the other half to a friend. Then I replaced them with underlay and natural sisal laid on the concrete screed. This was softer and more sound-absorbing, and much more welcoming.
‘I also painted out the brown wooden windows with neutral coloured Stone 1 to 5, from Paint & Paper Library’s Architectural range. In fact I used this neutral colour pallet throughout the barn and it’s only recently that I’ve introduced more colour in the sitting room, dining room and new en suite. In fact I spent lockdown repainting all the walls.’
David also removed the suspended spot lights – ‘bright enough to land a helicopter!’ – and replaced them with a Porto Romana chandelier and discreetly mounted spot lights on the beams.
The couple also decided the main bedroom needed a much bigger en suite bathroom.
‘So, I used the combined space from the existing en suite and a walk-in wardrobe,’ says David. ‘I designed the room and my brother Peter Carden, a joiner, built it using stud walls. I raised the floor to conceal the pipe work but the bath was placed on the original floor so it looks sunken. I then made a point of creating a low narrow window above the bath so when lying in it I could see the lavender garden without anyone seeing me!’
David also designed the wood panelling on the en suite wall and Peter made it. David also spent hours at the stone yard looking for the right limestone with exposed ammonites and fossils with which to surround the bath.
Peter also helped a great deal throughout the rest of the barn.
‘In the sitting room I designed the oak mantelpiece above the wood burner and again Peter made it. For the cloakroom, he made the oak vanity unit and I commissioned local potter, John Jelfs to make the beautiful ceramic bowl.’
Then, in 2014, David replaced the farmhouse oak kitchen with something more contemporary and practical. He used Inspired Design in Huddersfield who recommended the German-made Schuller Next 125; this offered the sleek and clean lines David wanted as well as much increased storage.
‘The work tops are quartz. I chose a combination of silver birch veneer drawer fronts on the base units and high gloss for the rest. The high gloss provides a mirror image of the garden and reflects the light.
‘As for the original flagstone floor it’s very practical and reflects the heritage of the building. The Aga heats the kitchen even in the coldest of winters and the kitchen is flooded with light all day from the wall of windows facing south east.
‘The kitchen leads out through French doors to a fantastic glazed terrace, complete with decking, seating and gas firepit for easy entertaining,’ he adds. ‘Plenty of space for dining and drinking late into the night with friends and family.’
The barn had been surrounded by grass and gravel paths, so the couple asked local garden designer Sarah Ewbank to help with the design and landscaping. Now they have created a formal garden with a water feature and sculpture, while the rest of the land was planted with a copse, an orchard and a pond.
‘The barn has provided us with enough privacy and space over the years to entertain our families and friends.,’ he finishes. ‘We’ve had many parties here and we’ve even hosted a wedding for 120 guests; plus we’ve had a charity music festival hosted by a drag queen who introduced the various rock bands! And now it’s time for a new challenge. The barn will certainly be a fantastic home for some very lucky people.’
For sale through Butler Sherborn.
- David Carden, interior designer and space planner, 01367 810 501 and 07774 235 719, cardendesign.co.uk
- Inspired Design (Jonathan Wood) 0113 345 5728, inspireddesignkitchens.com
- Anything Stone, 01793 250486, anythingstone.co.uk
- As New Upholstery (Gary Morley) 01235 522770, asnew-upholstery.co.uk
- Walters Electrical (Scott Walter) 07970 055487