This category B-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms had been our clients' family home for more than 20 years when it was extensively damaged by a serious fire in January 2015 destroying the roof and much of the first floor. The ground floor rooms, which included an intricate plaster ceiling in the living room, were less badly affected by the fire but suffered significant water damage. Simpson & Brown were appointed shortly after the fire and provided advice to our clients and their insurers on how to prevent further deterioration of the building; protect the surviving historical features; dry the building out; and plan the reinstatement of the house. During this process, and since their three offspring had left home, our clients took the opportunity to downsize and to divide the house into two. A significance assessment identified that the house could be split vertically without major alterations and loss of historic fabric. The house was divided along the line of the original staircase. A new contemporary style extension with large folding windows opening onto the garden was added to the side that would become our clients' house and, taking an opportunity granted by the new roof structure, a bright and airy bedroom open to the attic space above was created.
In the reinstatement of the house historic details were carefully repaired using traditional techniques. The plaster ceiling and cornice in the living room was restored along with the original tiled floor and Douglas fir staircase in the entrance hall.
The thermal performance of the Victorian property has been greatly improved. Following careful research insulation was added to the walls, roof and floors of the existing building. Heat loss has been minimised by overhauling the original doors and windows and the extension was built to achieve a high level of airtightness. Solar heating and photovoltaic panels were sensitively installed on the roof of the house and the garage respectively and a log boiler provides the small amount of energy that is now required to heat the house