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The Knoll

This extension to a sixteenth century farmhouse in Bourn outside Cambridge includes a new kitchen, a library overlooking a pond and a utility and shower room. The new extension replaces a series of tumble down store buildings which were in an advanced state of dilapidation and no longer served a purpose. After protracted negotiations with the local authority conservation team a specialist conservation officer was brought in who welcomed our approach of creating a contemporary extension which differentiates itself in style from the older historic elements of the ensemble. As ever, we have been seeking to create work which is ‘of our time’ yet which fits comfortably within a historic context. 

The extension follows the line of the existing nineteenth century kitchen side extension and a south facing pergola links the two which are divided by a glazed link forming a door in from the garden on one side and back door from the drive on the other. The pond has been greatly enlarged and now provides reflected patterns on the vaulted library ceiling and an occasional swimming pool. One interesting feature of the nineteenth century portion of the building is that it is built out of 'Bourn Great Bricks'. These measure 290L x 145H x 125D(mm) rather than the more normal 215L x 75H x 102D and are peculiar to Bourn and the nearby village of Haslingfield. It is thought that they may have been manufactured as a result of the Brick Tax (1784 - 1850); bigger bricks meaning lower tax as the tax was per brick rather than per square foot! A Brick Specialist was engaged to manufacture a batch of matching bricks to create sufficient quantities to complete the new wing. 

Photos by Richard Fraser