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van Ellen + Sheryn

van Ellen + Sheryn

Ashburton, UK

van Ellen + Sheryn - West Yard Farm, Dartmoor, Devon

van Ellen + Sheryn

The complete restoration of a dilapidated collection of farm buildings into modern accommodation.






New kitchen within link

New kitchen within link 


Glass extension to farmhouse

Glass extension to farmhouse 

Glass link between farmhouse and barn

Glass link between farmhouse and barn 


views through glazed link to grounds

views through glazed link to grounds 

Located in the heart of the Dartmoor National Park and set within 60 acres of woodland and meadow, the 18th Century granite farmhouse and associated barns group to form West Yard Farm. Unoccupied for a number of years, the clients bought the dilapidated property at auction, looking for the ultimate ‘project’.

The clients brief was to turn the farmhouse and barns into a large, modern family home with annex space for various flexible use. An important wish was for the dwelling to be as self-sufficient as possible.

Although the buildings were not listed, they were located within the conservation area of North Bovey and the National Park, and thus a key consideration was their respectful reinstatement and extension. The modern interventions were well received by the Dartmoor National Park planning authority, who praised the clarity of separation between old and new. Despite some scepticism in the local community; the proposals were unanimously supported by the Development Management Committee.

After stripping away the sprawl of incoherent 1950’s additions, the original building cluster could be appreciated and subsequently added to. To provide the level of accommodation required by the owners, a lightweight single storey steel framed glass structure was inserted between the farmhouse and barn. This created a new heart to the building, housing a contemporary kitchen and sitting room with direct access to the gardens, and acted as the main circulation node. The farmhouse and barn provided the more intimate living spaces and sleeping quarters.

The milking parlour to the west of the group provided the annex accommodation required. The brick and stone building was bisected, and a glass and green-oak framed structure replaced the southern half of the building. This brought light and space into the building. The new zinc roof ties the building together, and references the agricultural heritage of the plot.

West Yard Farm was designed around its intended users from the outset. The two wings of the farmhouse and attached barn provided independent spaces for both adults and children respectively. The annex barn provides additional space that allows an evolving flexible use of the buildings as the family grows and changes their usage patterns.

Accessibility throughout the property has been vastly improved, although level access within the farmhouse was not possible within the confines of the existing buildings. The annex barn provides ambulant disabled accessible accommodation.

The client’s brief for a self-sufficient dwelling was a key design factor. The surrounding woodland provides a renewable supply of fuel for the four wood burning stoves located throughout the property, and a ground source heat pump provides secondary heating. Electrical usage is offset by a PV panel array on a barn roof, and solar thermal panels provide much of the hot water requirement. High fabric insulation levels brought the buildings up to current regulation requirements.