I was wondering how to introduce the house and I was given the perfect opportunity to link my last blog about the pebbles in the river to the building of the house by a planning consultant who came to give me some advice. The previous owners converted a coach house, stables and barn into a home 25 years ago. In this part of Devon, a lot of old barn conversions have been going on apace, but permission to do so usually comes with quite stringent planning rules. When I bought the house, I assumed that I would only be able to make internal alterations, but I wanted to explore all options so John came by to take a closer look. I didn’t think I had much room to manoeuvre, but we discovered with a bit of detective work that there was originally an attached “lean to” building on the side of the barn that is now the kitchen. This would if I wanted to give me a case for extending off the kitchen, a bit of a bonus.
We also discovered old doorways that have been blocked off, and windows that used to be doorways.
The walls are traditional stone walls, and at first glance they all look the same. But he pointed out a lot of variation in colour showing where different stone would have been brought in.
|Colour variation in the walls|
You can imagine the builder scratching his head and saying, “not enough of this stone, oh well I’ll have to look somewhere else”. No finnicky client to refer back to building a barn 100 years ago!
But most interesting of all was being shown “river stones” in the walls. On closer inspection, there are rounder, smoother stones which he said would have been stones collected from the river bed to add to the make up of the building.
|River stone in the wall|
The builder finally realises he has to think laterally, and nips down to the river to make up the rest of his materials. So the river informs even the building of this house. How cool is that!
|River stones in the river!|