The remote village of Llangynidr lies about 9 miles south-east of Brecon. The village has upper and lower parts, divided by the original drovers road; Cwm Crawnon. The river Usk flows past the north of the village and the Brecon & Abergavenny canal runs through its centre. Overall, this is a very picturesque part of the Brecon Beacons, and is highly protected by its National Park designation. The planning authority are well known for their conservation-led policies and aim to limit new development to designated areas. Accordingly, they typically limit a new modern extension to a proportion of the original volume.

The Problem

Glasfryn lies to the west of the village, in a slightly secluded spot overlooking the Usk valley, and with the Llangattock escarpment overshadowing it to the south. The house is just inside the planning authority’s settlement boundary. A local landmark – Tor y Foel mountain – provides sensational views to the west. However, the existing house largely turned its back on this. Two mature oak trees dominated the site, and their ‘root protection areas’ provided significant constraints.

Mr Peach and his wife asked us to generally improve the property. It was a pretty ‘Arts & Crafts’ house, with steeply pitched roofs. Although plenty of space existed at first floor and in the roof, there was less ground floor space. Therefore, Mr Peach wanted to explore options for a ‘living kitchen’ area, to provide a new ‘heart’ to the property. He also imagined an extensive new garage and workshop to contain his emerging classic car collection.

Our Concept

Our concept was to design a stand-alone modern extension that felt like a separate building. We repeated the original pitched roof form over the new modern extension to link it visually. So, the original house is still clearly visible, but the new extension can be understood in its own right.

The modern extension was set forward of the existing building line (to the north) so that the new extension has views of Tor y Foel. A new south-facing morning courtyard is also provided at the back. The Planners needed convincing we could break the building line on the north side. As a result, we showed them computer generated images, proving it was impossible to see the difference from public routes. Folding doors open up the entire northern end of the kitchen onto a raised and covered terrace. Here, our clients can enjoy the views and soak up the afternoon sun.