“The planning application was submitted by Prime Oak and approved quickly. The fitters did a superb job and had built my other Prime Oak project, which is a 15m Oak Garage and Workshop.
We live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and both structures blend in perfectly. Overall the products (Oak Annexe and Oak Garage) are very high quality and the support from Prime Oak throughout the process has been excellent.”
In the press ....
Home Building & Renovating magazine were so impressed with this project it had a 10 page feature, here’s what they had to say:
When a turn of events meant Samantha Parr had to move out of and sell her family home in a beautiful South Staffordshire village, she wanted to find a way to stay on the high street she’d grown to love over the past 20 years. Never one to shirk a challenge, Samantha had the idea of turning a redundant garage she owned at the back of the high street into a home. “Most people I told said I’d never get planning to build on the site but I’m one of these people who see an opportunity and think ‘let’s go for it!’ So I blindly went ahead and put plans in anyway,” recalls Samantha and she was right to go ahead. The planning process was pretty straightforward. Conditions were placed only on the fabric and materials used for the building (the cladding, bricks and roof tiles) because the plot resides in a conservation area. “Because I had a strong idea of what I wanted and coupled with a really supportive planning officer who understood what I was trying to do, the plans were passed,” says Samantha. “I knew I wanted a Swiss-style chalet so I put all of my ideas together on a moodboard. I then visited Prime Oak – who normally build oak orangeries bigger than the size of my plot! – and they were really positive and thought it would be fine to crane in so were happy to proceed.” Once plans were passed, Samantha had a short timescale to build as she needed somewhere to live, so it was all systems go.
Although planning was pretty straightforward it was the site and access to it that proved challenging. The plot is nestled down the back of a narrow, quaint cobbled alleyway, flanked either side by independent cafes and shops. The entrance arch that leads you down the alleyway, where the plot resides at the rear, has a 2m-height restriction. When the oak frame company saw the site for the first time they realised they wouldn’t be able to crane the frame in so they had to drag the oak through on a hand-held roller! “It was definitely back to basics, literally moving the frame piece by piece,” says Samantha. Having neighbours en route to the building site was a huge consideration for Samantha and her team. “The shops are shut on a Monday so we’d take full advantage of that. The first load of any materials would arrive at around 5.30am to make sure we were there outside of the shops’ usual opening hours. Prime Oak were great and so accommodating with all the specifications we had to adhere to, to make this such a success.
Making a small home feel bigger
Samantha and her team of skilled trades built the house in just 15 weeks (Prime Oak’s elements took 3 weeks), which is quite an extraordinary feat given the plot restrictions and having never self-built before. The result is a beautifully formed oak frame home. It’s an upside-down house with two bedrooms and bathrooms located on the ground floor while the first floor boasts a wonderful open plan kitchen / living area with a glazed gable and small balcony.
Jack and Jill doors mean one of the ground floor bathrooms functions as both en suite and as a bathroom for visitors. The warmth of the oak beams throughout the house is so homely yet the high ceiling gives the room a sense of loftiness and airiness, which makes the space feel bigger than it is. Samantha’s eye for interior design, and buying reclaimed where she can, is expressed in her home with reclaimed doors and lights hung throughout. All adding charm and character to the rooms. So what does Samantha think about her aptly named home Little Lodge? “The floorplan is small on paper but I just use all the space. It’s quiet, private, safe and peaceful and the location is just great — on a beautiful high street, with views out that change with the seasons. I can’t see myself moving anytime soon.”