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Cranham Lodge is an eco-friendly, curved plan oak framed house, supported by 9 tree-like oak columns. The site is set within 200 acres of mature woodland and has a rich history as a place where people would come up from the city to improve their health. The oak frame echoes the tree canopy supporting a curved sedum roof which hovers over a Cotswold dry stone wall. The ‘branches’ of the 'trees' provide the buildings bracing. This creates a natural interior space with lots of open and light living spaces.
A fine example of organic architecture, this oak framed house was awarded a RIBA regional award and was voted Best Timber Frame, Best Eco Home and Readers’ Choice for the Daily Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovating Awards. Built to high eco-standards, this visually striking home uses traditional materials in a contemporary manner.
The site, previously home to a disused sawmill and formerly a tuberculosis sanatorium came with planning permission for a small, three bedroom bungalow. The Tysons alongside their architect George Batterham sought to replace the existing building with a contemporary house which would still retain a sense of being a part of nature. The design for a much larger curved oak frame home impressed the planning department and was allowed.
The design concept was for what the architect, George Batterham, terms ‘an enlightened contemporary oak framed house; the plan curving around the top of the dewdrop lake. The front of the house gives the effect of a stunning dry stone wall, with just a hint of the oak frame behind, peeking over the top of the wall. The rear of the building takes advantage of the sloping site to provide bedrooms on the lower floor. The upper floor is open plan and largely glazed to take advantage of the lovely views.
The slightly faceted oak frame gives the appearance of a gentle curve throughout its length. Based on the concept of nine oak tree columns, the ‘branches’ provide the bracing. Designed on a clear grid pattern, the oak frame provides structural support to the building. Living zones are provided within the open plan space and sloping towards the views. The use of oak frames the views to their maximum advantage. The mono-pitched roof features a beautiful living sedum.
The house uses materials as close to their natural state as possible and the oak frame is central to this with low embodied energy which locks carbon away for the lifespan of the building.
Carpenter Oak's frame designers love this house because it demonstrates that an oak frame can be successfully used in a contemporary design. The design absolutely delivers the clients requirements for modern living. Interestingly, it has been achieved using traditional pegged joints, without using steel, that it is often assumed to be essential for a modern scheme.
The oak frame itself took just five days to erect. George (who had lots of experience of working with oak frames) designed the home to suit the construction method, rather than designing the home with the frame being an afterthought.
Working closely with the architects, structural engineer and client at all stages of the process led to a fully integrated and successful building.
“The working methods of Carpenter Oak, where traditional skills can be married with a contemporary design were key to the success of this project and have produced a natural, warm, and exciting new house which is a delight to live in and visit.”Batterham Smith Architects
Budget considerations are of course one of the primary factors for anyone undertaking an oak frame self build project whether it's a new build oak frame or a timber frame extension. 'How much will it cost?' is therefore a question which will be asked over and over and will almost certainly form a central thread of your project.
Overall build costs for a complete new build oak house typically vary from £1,500 to £2,000+ per square metre (referring to the useable area of the lower and upper floors added together) i.e. for a two storey property times the area by 2. We would suggest that you budget from £1,200- £1,800 per sqm (or £120-£180 per sqft).
For extensions we would suggest budgeting from £2,000 per square metre - don't forget to add VAT (for UK customers). It is worth noting that guide price is for a complete build based on a contractor doing the work with the timber frame is usually a 20-30% proportion.
If you intend to self build then expect to budget toward the lower end of the scale (although of course it may take longer!). There are several caveats with this guide price including the following key considerations:-
At every stage your decisions will affect the overall costs, from the complexity of the design to the level of finish. Engaging an architect will almost certainly save you money in the long run. Getting advice from us on the timber frame concept prior to going in for planning will minimise the risk of sending your architect 'back to the drawing board'.
We are happy to discuss your ideas with you at an early stage and can offer you advice along the way. It is helpful for you to build a scrapbook (you could use Pinterest) of your ideas and wishes – this makes your brief to us and your architect much clearer. Once you have a plot in mind we would encourage you to come and see us in the show barn at our yard to discuss your ideas in more depth and help you establish a concept design and rough costs.
You can meet with one of our frame designers and an architect if required (Roderick James Architects offer a free initial consultation). We can offer you an estimate for your budget costings at that stage based on a timber frame sketch scheme. You will then be in a position to draw up a planning application, knowing that you will be able to achieve what you want with the frame. We can offer you an accurate estimate based on a timber frame sketch scheme once you have architects drawings. Once your planning application has been approved we can get going on a detailed frame design for you.
As in most walks of life, if it looks too good to be true then it probably is.
We are different and instead pursue excellence – we look to be the best at what we do whilst maintaining affordability, accurate and realistic pricing – we seek the trust and loyalty of our clients as this is the basis of positive working relationships which last beyond the raising of the frame.
All of our Oak is from sustainably managed woodlands located around a single sawmill in Normandy, France (PEFC certifified). When this mill is unable to fulfil our order we divert to an alternative mill in Germany. The mills have access to a plentiful supply of exceptionally well managed and very high quality timber.
Why not use UK sourced oak, I hear you ask? Sadly, the lack of investment and good timber management for hardwoods in this country over many years means our domestic supplies are generally of a lower quality, inconsistent supply and can be more expensive. Although the situation will gradually change, it means that currently continental Oak is the best option for our framing. Carpenter Oak Ltd are investing in the future of UK woodlands.
For every tree used in a project we will donate 10 Oak saplings to an organised planting scheme in the UK
Douglas Fir and Larch all comes from sustainably managed UK forests.
We regularly build oak frames for inclusion in renovations and barn conversions. A timber oak frame structure is ideal if the existing building is in structurally poor condition. The oak frame can slot into the fabric of the building to then carry the new roof etc.
You will need to find a builder to undertake the project as a whole but we are happy to design and build a frame for you or to give your builder dimensions. We can deliver this to site either as a kit or with the carpenters who made the frame, dependent on the size.
Yes. If you are looking for a complete build or ‘Turnkey’ service, we can offer a solution to include each stage of the process, from the feasibility assessment, design, management and construction, right through to completion. We pride ourselves on being adaptable as every client is different. We can offer a number of routes for you and your project, depending on how involved you want to get. We aim to understand your particular situation and respond to deliver what you need. For many people that means us working as a contractor alongside your architect and builder, for others, involvement at each stage or a self build project. Get in touch to find out which route would suit your project best and we can deliver a range of options from a finished frame to a finished house, ready for you to move into.
Yes. We design and build a wide variety of timber frame extensions which form a significant portion of our work. A timber frame is often the perfect solution to your need to extend or renovate and can be tailored to your particular situation giving you an oak beam WOW factor to your home. Whether small or large, single or two storey pitched roof or lean-to, solid roof or fully glazed, or if its a substantial 2 storey extension to double the size of your property. We have created numerous oak extensions, timber framed conservatories, oak framed garden rooms or oak orangeries. Take a look at our timber frame extensions case studies.
Whether you would like minimal oak, a feature oak truss, or maybe you are looking for a traditional style or a contemporary twist. We can build virtually anything you require to a range of budgets - talk to us to discuss your plans.
Yes. We design and build a wide variety of timber frame garages and stables and can build virtually anything you require. Garages are something we frequently supply to clients either as a frame, kit or a complete build.
We would work with you to arrive at a design which exactly suits your needs rather than you compromising on a 'off the shelf' design. There is a huge variation on the spec of an oak timber framed garage with many cheaper products only using oak for show!
In relation to new build projects, if a garage or outbuildings are built as part of a new build, at the same time, they have not been subject to VAT in our experience.