The Restoration of Heron Court
Saving a heritage property from ruin
We may be best known for our luxury new builds but we’re just as passionate about heritage restorations. Nestled in the Bourne Valley, just south of Farnham, Surrey, is Heron Court, a beautiful Grade II listed family home set within extensive grounds. The original part of the house dates back 450 years, with the addition of an 18th century Georgian hop barn, a 19th century Victorian extension and now a 21st century kitchen extension!
When we first found the property, it was derelict and uninhabitable, having stood empty for more than two years. We set about restoring the historic architecture of each section, blending it into one home that remained sympathetic to the history of the house while also meeting the needs of modern living.
The two-storey extension houses a new kitchen/breakfast room with a fourth bedroom and en suite above, along with a dining room opening out onto the terrace. Removing the 19th century staircase allowed the Malthouse to be reinstated to its original extent on the ground floor, while taking out the awkward modern floor above opened up a magnificent full height living space. The existing kitchen was reimagined as a snug, creating a succession of relaxed seating areas.
We were determined that any alteration of the historic fabric of the house would be minor, but result in a much-improved layout. The seventeenth century core has not been altered at all, while the new extension is not visible from the adjacent roads. Traditional materials have been used throughout to match the original building: red clay tiles, white painted render and painted timber windows and doors.
Like so many restoration projects, the more the fabric was uncovered, the more work was required, from installing tanking to stop damp, to sandblasting all internal oak beams and replacing a piece of railway track that was used as a weight bearing steel to hold up the first floor! The roof was completely replaced with heritage tiles, along with new electrics and lighting, windows, underfloor heating and cast iron period radiators.
The relocated staircase provides a link between the traditional and contemporary. An artisan blacksmith was commissioned to create the balustrade, while the chunky oak treads echo the historic timbers elsewhere in the house. In the kitchen/breakfast room, bands of bespoke, hand built cabinets line the walls, while in older parts of the house, grey limed and brushed timber floors create a muted base for the interior décor, along with a heritage colour palette for the walls and paneling. Each of the four bathrooms is fitted with Victorian and industrial-style sanitary ware, with antique brass and bronze ironmongery throughout.
Surrounded by terraced lawns and enclosed by new hedges and mature trees set within a listed boundary wall, the setting of Heron Court has been carefully preserved, with landscaping enhanced to provide more obvious paths to the front and back doors.
There’s no doubt this restoration was a huge challenge, but it was also one of the most satisfying projects we’ve ever undertaken. Heron Court is an interesting and beautiful house that deserved to have a family living within its walls again and its future secured for another 100 years or more.