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Cwm Nant

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Our brief was to create a studio space of 40m2 that gives plenty of natural daylight in contrast to the traditional cottage which has small windows and rooms. The site has a sprawling garden and is relatively shaded.


The initial part of the scheme was to agree on the exact location of the extension for both practical and aesthetic reasons.

Having a strong connection to the outdoors whilst retaining the character of the site was important both in terms of our clients express wishes to have minimal impact on the ground and that the existing cottage has a lovely architectural expression.

The brief is for a highly energy efficient build, using a Larson Truss (double stud) timber frame construction, with 300mm depth of recycled newspaper insulation (Warmcel), and sheathed with non-toxic structural and airtight boards. We have also incorporated an additional south-facing roof area for more solar panels. The heating to the new extension will connect to the wood-pellet boiler already installed in the cottage.

The resulting design was a low level building that pays homage to the original outbuildings, and located on the footprint of an old byre from when the site was a small farmstead over 40 years ago.


A glass link to the main cottage helps break up the massing of the buildings and improves the effectiveness of an energy efficient wrap. We are treating the glass link as a "draught lobby" between the uninsulated stone gable to the existing cottage and the new highly insulated extension.

Inside the extension we have divided an open plan space into smaller areas by using exposed joists and beams as guides. This repeats the proportions of the cottage and site. A small wood-burning stove will give added warmth in the winter, and a new bathroom will provide a much needed ground floor bath and shower. The bath will be set within the link area with a glass roof giving a feeling of being in the trees that sit high above the extension.

Design team

RRA Architecture

Structural Engineers

Wolfenden Engineers Ltd

Planning application

Domestic Householder



Floor Area


Planning authority


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