Projects: Orchard House, Somerset

Orchard House is a traditional farmhouse dating from the eighteenth century.  When the current owner purchased the property, the previous occupier had lived there for fifty years and, during the 1960s had the rear elevation of the house rebuilt, reportedly because of subsidence.  The new occupant had used Lime Repair on his previous house and wanted a complete renovation.

Some problems were evident immediately – the floors in certain rooms were unusually bouncy and the Blue Lias stone of which the exterior walls were constructed was in very poor repair in places.  The owner requested that modern materials be removed as far as possible and traditional materials and building methods be used in the renovation.

Once the rooms were stripped, the cause of the bouncy floors was diagnosed; the walls had moved and were bulging outwards so the joists were no longer securely embedded.  A structural engineer was consulted and it was decided that the west gable had moved so much that the best course of action was to take it down and rebuild it, enabling a secure foundation to be constructed.  At the request of the owner 2 flues were constructed so that the fireplaces could be reinstated.

The house received a top-to-toe renovation.  The brick chimneys on the main house were replaced with stone and the old walls were repointed in lime.  The Blue Lias stone was replaced where the condition was too poor.

The beautiful historic windows were repaired and the lintels above replaced where necessary.  The front door had been relocated to the left-hand side at some stage and this was returned to its central location and a new porch designed and built.  The small extension on the east side was demolished and replaced with a larger building.

Inside the existing lime plaster was repaired wherever possible, and the wooden and Blue Lias stone floors repaired and polished.

Before & After

Front of house before works began
Front of house works complete
West gable before works began
West gable works complete
Main sitting room before works began
Main sitting room works complete

Works in Progress

The original lime plaster was preserved and patched wherever possible.
Gable rebuild under construction, showing chimney flues.
The original Blue Lias floorslabs were filled and repaired.
Work in progress in the kitchen.
Quarry tiles over a limecrete floor.
Beginning the west gable rebuild.
A new fireplace and log store was constructed.