For the first time in the history of Country Life, the lack of historical significance and beauty in a property worked to its benefit. The Peacock's old chicken house has now been converted into a stunning holiday let which may not yet be historically significant, but has certainly gained its fair share of beauty.
There was nothing particularly eye-catching or historic about Nicholas and Sue Peacock’s chicken shed near Trellech in Monmouthshire, which made the challenge of converting it into a four-bedroom holiday home even more enjoyable, reveals architect Martin Hall.
‘It was a wreck with a corrugated roof, dirt floor and rotten timber walls,’ he explains. ‘We’ve worked with plenty of rural buildings, but this was a bit more of a basket case than usual.’
The planners weren’t convinced, either: the application was approved by just one vote. ‘They were worried about the impact on the landscape, but, now, everyone can see that it’s unharmed,’ he continues.
Mr Hall was determined that the design should be playful and prove that you can make a small space feel generous and well-appointed. ‘I approached it as you might a luxury yacht,’ he says. ‘Everything is high-end, yet compact.’
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The architect steered away from distressed materials, which could feel nostalgic and themed, and opted instead for raw materials: cedar, iron, concrete and walls of glass. The effect is clean, light and modern, but reflects the agricultural roots of the shed.
As it was to be a holiday let (which one can book at www.thechickenshedatparkhouse.com), the Peacocks opted for a pared-back interior, with a focus on local materials and craftsmanship. ‘When you’re on holiday, you don’t want the clutter of everyday life around you,’ believes Mrs Peacock.
Much of the furniture, including the beds, was designed by Barnby Design of nearby Hay-on-Wye . There are also handmade Welsh blankets and some colourful Scandinavian pieces. ‘The walls are clad in cedar and the floors are polished concrete, but there’s no mistaking the building for anything other than a radically repurposed shed,’ Mrs Peacock assures me.
The Peacock’s conversion is one of the latest in a series of wonderful outbuilding conversions, where we’ve seen everything from a dovecote to a sheep shed transformed into quirky living spaces.
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