Original Meets Contemporary

A considered mix of creative design-led excellence.

Working alongside Napier Clarke Architects and Last Interior Design, Barr Group carried out the whole-house renovation and structural remodelling of a classic brick and flint farmhouse.

Tucked deep into the Oxfordshire countryside, Chiltern Farmhouse has been completely reimagined inside – the project architects restructuring the space and reinventing its flow. The house (already full of unique original features) is made even more distinct through the presence of an existing modern extension, built onto the hillside a storey higher than the rest of the property.

The project scope demanded stripping the entire property back to its bare bones. The main kitchen and living space was to be relocated to the upper floor of the modern section of the house – linked by an impressive new double-storey entrance hall. Living spaces, bedrooms, bathrooms, a library and a bootroom were reconfigured or refitted in line with the functional needs and lifestyle of our clients.

Amongst the many delights of the project, exposing the old brickwork and timber structural elements was particularly satisfying for the Barr Group team. The contrasting styles where old meets new are very impactful. Our expert makers in the Barr Joinery workshop manufactured a whole house of bespoke design-led cabinetry, designed by Napier Clarke Architects. Flat-edged and contemporary in style, detailing includes slatted and routed feature panels. Bespoke cupboards, drawer sets, library units and panelling butt up against the undulating original timbers and soft worn redbrick features.

The ample proportions of the new open-plan kitchen and living space (bathed in natural light) has a broken-plan configuration, using a central brick fireplace to divide the functional space and lounge area. Barr Kitchens brought to life a balance of flat-panelled cabinetry, partly matt terracotta finish and partly natural oak (finished in the same secret formula as the bare oak seen throughout the house). The warm terracotta under-counter cabinets and a striking plaster pink bespoke coffee table reflect the exposed red brick tones seen throughout the house.

Rachele Bowley of Last Interior Design describes the style of the newly renovated farmhouse as modern eclectic. “Our client’s natural colour flair allowed us to use bold shades in unexpected places such as the terracotta kitchen, giving unique personality to the scheme,” she says. “The palette is neutral, leaning heavily on the brick and timber tones for natural colour depth. This allowed us to bring in tonal emphasis through the bolder colours of fabrics, furnishing and cabinetry."

Bespoke lighting and furnishing throughout, by Last Interior Design, is contemporary and eclectic in style, bringing eye-catching focal points to each space and, again, contrasting with the original features. Feature pendant lights in blackened brass and handblown glass hang down between exposed beams. Chairs and cushions are upholstered in carefully selected geometric fabrics. “Pieces are handpicked, and many are unique,” says Rachele. “We used the abstract objects and distinctive furnishing shapes to work in contrast to the sharper cabinetry lines."

“The palette is neutral, leaning heavily on the brick and timber tones for natural colour depth. This allowed us to bring in tonal emphasis through the bolder colours of fabrics, furnishing and cabinetry.”
Rachele Bowley, Last Interior Design

For Barr Group, our aim was to achieve a build and manufacture which did justice to the unique and individual nature of the structural and interior designs. Our clients were happy to take risks to achieve something unique and beautiful. Through seeking out clients and design collaborators who share our passion for build excellence (and our ethos of embracing the challenge and doing things differently) we can achieve exceptional results. This was a project where a meeting of minds between client, designer, architect, and contractor allowed us to do just that. We thank our clients for trusting us with their renovation project, and for allowing us to share some precious snippets of their home.