For its design for Vicarage Farm, an early Victorian building in the middle of nine acres in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Hollaway Studio was tasked with the challenge of creating a substantial extension that was both timeless and sympathetic to the original vicarage, while being of a scale and design dramatic enough to sit within this grand context.
Approached down a long tree lined driveway, Vicarage Farm is unique, sitting in the middle of its plot surrounded by fields. As its name implies the site was formerly a farm, the farm house dating from the 1830s, comprised of formal brick walls, a slate roof, generous white sash windows with views across the landscape, and original canopied porch, fireplaces and box shutters. It has had little disruption over time other than a failing single storey 1990s annexe extension and conservatory which Hollaway Studio removed and replaced with their double height wraparound design.
Hollaway Studio’s contemporary extension subtly announces itself on arrival to the property from the driveway. A floating roof sits behind the primary brick façade on one side with the crittall style orangery resting beneath. On following the driveway around, the full extent of the matt black feather edge timber clad extension reveals itself. A significant two storey rear extension folds around the main house, encompassing new living, dining and utility spaces; a swimming pool; carport and garage; and a master-suite on the first floor. The new extension connects with the original building so that it is all joined.
While Hollaway Studio’s addition appears big, it resembles a ‘reverse tardis’ as the interior does not feel so cavernous and remains in keeping with the original building. While the gross internal area of the existing house measures 187sqm, Hollaway Studio’s first floor and pool extension adds significant space, at 273sqm, with the garage and carport adding an additional 80sqm.
The expanse of light absorbing façade, with its rough deep timber cladding, envelopes the crisp polished concrete interior. Flashes of scaffold board internal wall cladding, T&G ceilings and a plywood kitchen add to the richness of textures on display internally.
The glass walls of the new extension disappear away from the corners, allowing for seamless uninterrupted movement from inside to outside. A large roof light separates the new from the old, allowing each architectural style to co-exist harmoniously alongside each other and offering a moment of drama in considering Vicarage Farm in its new totality. Upstairs, the master bedroom is approached past a lightwell connecting all the way up through the building and sharing light with the hallway. The master-suite builds on lessons from the old, with timber shutters to the windows and deep reveals which frame views to strategic locations within the garden and wider landscape.
The new facilitates the old. The kitchen noticeably sits within the old structure but willingly opens itself to the new dining and living spaces allowing the uses to blend together. The large external terraces resolve the geometry of the low box hedges and formal gardens, inviting them to interact and spill over the new stark concrete finishes. In painting the extension matte black it mirrors the original barns, some of which date from the medieval era on the site, further bringing together old and new.
Vicarage Farm marks another example of Hollaway Studio’s dedication in bringing together the contemporary with the traditional to co-exist in both a complementary and elevating aesthetic.