The Merchants House
Conservation & Restoration Winner 2009
Location: Shepton Mallet
Building Owner: Private
Architect: Caroe & Partners
Builder/Main Contractor: Jon Maine Renovations
Structural Engineers: Bill Harvey Associates
Joinery: Mendip Shoplifters & Mulford Historic Carpentry
Wood Species: European Oak
To conserve and restore a derelict 17th century merchants house into a comfortable family home with minimal maintenance and running costs for the foreseeable future thus ensuring ongoing prospects for the building.
To bring it back to life using traditional materials and skills but also incorporating modern technology making it both versatile and economic in its use.
Conserve as much of the original fabric as possible restoring where appropriate.
Assess the environmental considerations of all decisions made during the project.
Let the building dictate from its important features what layout should be adopted.
And embrace a minimum intervention philosophy throughout.
The completed project has embraced all of our aims and goals at the outset and more.
By utilising traditional crafts, correctly specified building materials and conservation repair techniques, the repair and conservation has been a great success.
Thorough lasting repairs to the structure and cosmetic elements have been undertaken successfully. And the original inbuilt structural defects have also been re-engineered to ensure future long term viability of the building.
The inclusion of a 15kw borehole ground source heat pump system, a private borehole water well and an energy efficient lighting system will also keep utility costs to a minimum.
The comprehensive repair program to the original timberwork was a great success visually and structurally. It incorporates many repairs to structural members which had failed due to rot and overloading. Restoration of winder stairs where missing or damaged, new hand fashioned splat balusters and turned finials. Clench nailed doors hung on handwrought hinges internally and externally.
Conservation of original oak flooring alongside installation of mainly new oak boards over under-floor heating. Conservation of window cills and replacement of the missing majority with hand profiled oak to match existing.
Masonry repair to fireplaces, windows, doorways, rubblestone walling and repaired cellar vaults all blend in with the existing fabric seamlessly.
After a major engineering feat to build a culvert around 3 sides of the building now the cellars are dry useable space no longer flooding.
All scrap wood was recycled as fuel on site, hardcore was re-used within half a mile from site, metal and cardboard recycled. There was a balance of waste which could not be recycled which was small enough to go into the household refuse. And of course we have re-used the building and included modern energy efficient technology.
Melding new technology and ancient fabric has been successful.
The building is now again a jewel having uplifted the area, highlighting its vernacular beauty in a town setting and leading the way for others.