Rural Retreat

Conversion of a rural barn

Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

The barn sits within the historic village of Colston Bassett and is sited within the Colston Bassett Conservation Area. The existing house sits on a 2,200 sqm (23,680 sqft) plot, with a welcoming driveway and spectacular rear garden.

Manea Kella were appointed to transform the existing run-down garage and stabling block to the rear of the site’s driveway. The brief asked for additional accommodation for the client’s extended family which would also serve as a container for a wide collection of books and art. The tranquil, rural surroundings make this an ideal retreat from urban life. In its basic shape and openings, the new building echoes the original structure. The existing roof has been wholly removed (Fig. 01-03) and a new timber frame made from Douglas fir now spans the entire length of the new house (Fig. 04-05)

This has resulted in a set of interconnected spaces, some small, some double-height, which create a sense of volume and light in a compact plan. Traditional construction techniques (Fig. 06-08) and inexpensive materials were used to ensure that the construction budget could be met. The design of the extension was determined by the new house’s relationship with the garden and views towards the mature trees beyond. Internally, the space hosts a light filled living and dining area that connects to a semi-open plan kitchen. The joinery throughout the internal spaces is made from Douglas fir in order to match the new roof structure, which features expressed rafters. The consistent use of wood throughout the interiors offers warmth, texture and charm.


2023  AJ Retrofit Awards - Shortlisted: House up to £500,000
2023  RIBA Awards - Shortlisted: Regional East Midlands
2022  British Homes Awards - Shortlisted: Homes Transformation of the Year

  • Location:

    Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

  • Project start:


  • Completion:


  • Gross Floor Area:

    120 sq. m

  • Client:


  • Collaborators:

    Price and Myers
    Timber Workshop