The annex at Asher House is the ultimate mini-me, with interior designer Lara Clarke’s simple country chic stamped all over it.
Having renovated Asher House two years ago, the Barr Build Direct to Client team were delighted to be commissioned to convert the existing Oxford stone garaging into a charmingly compact garden annex, complete with a kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom, and lounge space. The Potting Shed annex is formed from two thirds of the property’s stone garage and plant room, offering microscale living with absolutely everything a guest could need.
The process was kept streamlined and simple. Design and building regulation drawings by architects HollandGreen were handed over to the Barr Build Direct to Client team at preconstruction stage. From there Barr Build director Chris Noonan and his team worked closely with our client and interior designer Lara Clarke, as well as structural engineers Solid, to specify and project manage the build. Running the project on a cost-plus basis allowed work to commence quickly, and for changes to be made to the schedule as required throughout the project.
The cost-plus construction model has become a popular means of carrying out Direct to Client works, typically facilitating rapid commencement of the construction phase compared to conventional pricing models – allowing for aspects of the build to be prioritised or removed from the schedule to stay within our clients’ budgets and timelines.
To create a two-storey micro home at Asher House, the existing ground-bearing slab needed to be lowered and underpinned, increasing the headroom of the ground floor. The addition of a first-floor level was made possible through raising the wall head (the sides of the building) and then reinstating the roof structure at the higher level, with a corresponding raised roof beam. Casement dormer windows were built into the new traditional, red-tiled roof, giving ample space for a delightful first-floor ensuite bedroom with a view. Slimline aluminium sliding doors were installed across the open face of the ground floor, connecting The Potting Shed with the gardens, and maximising the light. A bi-folding timber external door preserves the look of the old stone garaging and allows it to be shut away when not in use.
A fully equipped kitchenette, with bespoke cabinetry, cleverly uses every square inch of space, giving ample storage and full functionality without feeling cluttered. Upstairs the pretty double bedroom and ensuite bathroom includes made-to-measure wardrobes and eves storage, again cleverly configured to maximise space, drawing the eye across the garden and countryside beyond. Other ingenious design features by Lara Clarke include an antiqued mirrored wall at the foot of the stairs, reflecting Sanderson’s The Allotment wallpaper and giving the illusion of depth. Tongue and groove panelling to walls and ceilings, set against wide natural oak floorboards, gives a country chic vibe, and aligns beautifully with the main house.
The result is a truly charming annex, fully equipped and ready for guests at a moment’s notice. We thank our clients for trusting us to continue their Asher House structural journey and to share their build story.