Saturday 8th October 10 am - 2pm
Car parking: Often space on Coppice Street but we’re not far from any of the town centre car parks
and very close to Tesco.
Just turn up There are 2 steps to the front door
This is a centre-terrace former council house built in the 1930s and within easy reach of Shaftesbury town centre. The present owners, Richard and Rachel, bought it late in 2017, but made changes before moving in 18 months later. Theirs was a relatively new later-in-life relationship and they were combining two households. Their modifications were designed to give them adequate but compact space for sustainable living into their older age.
The house now has a timber-framed south-facing rear extension with underfloor heating and a sedum roof, a loft conversion, high spec double glazing, a refitted kitchen, a lot of additional storage space and a small solar PV array. Throughout the building works and associated internal changes the couple aimed to reuse existing materials and for new fittings to be as sustainable as possible. Heating and hot water is currently provided by the pre-existing gas combi-boiler (less than 5 years old). There is also a wood burner which is used sparingly.
This house appealed to us because of the location and orientation: very convenient with (almost) level access to the town centre, not overlooked in front or behind, and with a south facing rear garden. However, we considered the house too small for two active retired adults who each needed space at home for our various projects. Alterations We explored the options for extending: a loft conversion, a rear extension, a garden office. In deciding what to do and how to tackle it we were influenced by:
We opted for a timber-framed rear extension the same depth as the former wash-house which was to be demolished. It would have underfloor heating sourced by the existing, relatively new, gas combi-boiler and would eventually have a green roof. It would provide a flexible dining room / office and incorporate a w/c & shower, and would necessitate some remodelling of the kitchen. We also chose to have a modest attic conversion (without a dormer window) to be accessed by a standard staircase. The attic space was to be used for storage, occasional third bedroom, and flexible project or office space. The staircase meant there was no usable living space on the first floor landing but we were able to incorporate some large storage cupboards. All windows were to be replaced and the roof would be well insulated.
Builders / Materials / Providers
The plans were drawn up by Terry Pinto, a Frome-based architect, and the works were done by TL Builders of Sturminster Newton. Getting the necessary permissions and then having the works done took about 18 months – during which we lived in a rented house on The Maltings.
The 9 solar panels were supplied and fitted in 2019 by Dorset Energy Solutions of Gillingham at a cost of £5100 (includes all labour, cabling and the inverter). We receive FIT payments of around £200p.a.
The replacement windows were supplied by Newglaze of Blandford: cost led us to choose relatively high spec (A+ energy performance rating, 1.3u), UPVC double-glazing with a high proportion of recycled plastics. Roof windows are all Velux and fitted with blinds (some solar powered) so that we can shield against the sun’s heat or reduce light pollution at night.
Fitted and free-standing pine storage cupboards, bookcases, kitchen units, wardrobes were all made to our specifications by Gillerson Pine of Trowbridge. The kitchen worktop was manufactured and supplied by Diamik Glass in Leeds and includes a high percentage of recycled glass. At around £2.5K this was a bit of indulgence! We managed to retain, reuse, or obtain 2 nd hand: paving slabs, internal doors, kitchen sink & flooring, some appliances and furniture. We chose to use synthetic carpet on upstairs floors and stairs because of a previous bad experience where carpet moth attacked a wool carpet.
The sedum for the green roof was supplied by Sedum Green Roof of East Knoyle (cost £1300). It arrived in trays which we fitted ourselves. Visitors in 2022 will see how it has fared in this year’s heat and drought. In 2022 we replaced a dilapidated shed/workshop with a new building offering enhanced rainwater collection capability, a tool shed and an insulated (and heated) garden office. This was designed and made to measure with modules built offsite and then installed over 4 days by Poultons of Shaftesbury. Whilst this was in progress we had many tools wrapped in a tarpaulin in the middle of the garden – reducing our growing this year! We are now in the process of moving into the new spaces.
Living here (from spring 2019)
We got rid of one car when we started living together. Now we find our single 16-yr-old car doesn’t get heavy use. We’re lucky to have parking in front of the house so we could charge an electric vehicle there if we had (or more likely shared/rented) one. We grew reduced fruit & veg this year (apples, raspberries, strawberries, greens, tomatoes, herbs). Rachel participates in growing at the community farm (Shaftesbury Homegrown). The remodelled wildlife pond has thrived.
The works at Coppice street, Shaftesbury (PDF, 120kB)