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Toll House, Shropshire

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A new private residential dwelling and an extension to an existing Grade II listed building in the hamlet of Ellerton, Shropshire. The rural setting provides a valuable opportunity to build an innovative, energy-efficient house with a high standard of design and contemporary appearance.

The new buildings are designed to have a light touch on the outstanding natural environment of the site, with biodiverse roofs, partially sunken elements and the use of complementary local materials. All structures maintain a low one-storey profile with a horizontal emphasis to further lessen the visual impact.

Against the dramatic rolling landscape and the lakeside, the main building enhances and respects its surrounds.

The setting is characterised by several natural features, comprising woodland, grassed areas, and hedging. A small stream, Wagg Brook, runs through the site. The land is gently contoured, sloping down towards a small lake of 0.47Ha. The private client has also developed a woodland garden area to the eastern area of the site.

The new dwelling and garage are sited on the grassy bank to the west of the site entrance track, adjacent to the lake. The new building proposals ensure that existing woodland areas are left untouched, and that there will be minimal impact on other areas of the landscape.

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The layout creates a dramatic relationship between the new house, the site slope and the water.

Main living spaces take advantage of the southerly aspect looking towards the lake. Bedrooms are further back, and the garage is at the rear, adjacent to the boundary and partially sunk into the site slope.

This layout makes full use of the site views, but also ensures that the building is more compact, avoiding spread across the site, and restricts the area used by vehicles. The new building is at a reasonable distance to the existing Toll House, ensuring that both buildings are clearly defined, yet still relate to each other.

At the southern end, the building form is more pronounced, with cantilever decks stretching towards the water’s edge. The lower platforms have been designed to look similar to waterside jetties, with a steel sub-structure and timber decking finish.

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The new dwelling has a simple palette of materials to express the contemporary form of the building.

Larch timber cladding, laid horizontally in slats, exist with shadow gaps between each slat to highlight the contemporary nature of the material. The larch is left untreated, and will gradually weather to a natural silvery grey.

Glazing on the new dwelling is in simple floor to ceiling panels, with mid-grey aluminium frames. The lower frame is recessed and set flush with the ground floor level, to achieve a seamless transition between the interior and the external deck around the house.

The roof and decking edges will be expressed as dark grey powdered coated metal, to highlight the horizontal nature of the building form, and achieve a clean edge that contains the timber panels and the glazing. Flat glass roof-lights bisect the main roof finish, to provide light to internal corridors.

A green bio-diverse roof is proposed. Planting to the roof would be in a mix of native species, appropriate to the rural nature of the site.

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Nearby, the existing Grade II listed Toll House is set apart from the main dwelling.

The octagonal building is in the process of being restored, faced with red sandstone and a Welsh slate roof. The building form of the new extension is therefore simple, contemporary, and complementary. It is set lower than the existing building to not detract from the Toll House’s identity and ensure it will have a viable future as a residential dwelling.

The extension wraps around the rear of the Toll House, so that the front and side elevations are left unobstructed. A flat, bio-diverse roof keeps the eaves of the new building low, subservient to the existing historic building. The simple form of the extension has been emphasised by using red-sandstone for external walls and aluminium framed windows.


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