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Overlooking the North Cornish coast in the small popular fishing village of Boscastle, Petrea and Rick had the vision of creating a hill-top retreat; a place to spend time together after Petrea was diagnosed with a serious illness. Staying away from the difficulties of renovating or refurbishing an existing character property they approached Carpenter Oak Ltd, Devon in order to build their own timber frame oak house. Little did the couple know that Petrea would thankfully make a recovery, so rather than have this beautiful house sit empty for most of the year, they decided The Retreat should be a holiday let for others to enjoy.
Are you looking to create your own home or start a business venture situated in a majestic oak frame? Contact us at any stage of your plans to get the ball rolling.
Using a classic oak frame design and Rick and Petrea’s love of the Carpenter Oak Show Barn, we created a four bay oak barn with a playful mezzanine floor, glazed oak gable end with a large sling brace truss as the central focal point of the self build. The oak frame had a small mezzanine floor overlooking the central well-appointed living area which also provides additional sleeping accommodation, storage or office space.
“Based on a fresh approach to the traditional Cornish country cottage, our vision was to create a peaceful, inspirational and flexible home that would serve as a retreat from the everyday rush of modern life. Having looked into renovating existing properties, we decided that a new build would allow us the opportunity of making the space exactly how we imagined; combining a dramatic oak beam vaulted ceiling with warm interior touches, making the The Retreat a blissful hideaway no matter what the weather or time of year. Carpenter Oak Ltd and Roderick James Architects understood our ideas and ambitions, and together they helped us create the stunning home we have now. The completion of the frame in all its sculptural beauty was most memorable, our dreams taking form! Carpenter Oak and the whole building team performed a ‘topping out’ ceremony to mark this special moment, a traditional link to the past in this highly skilled craft.”
The frame itself demonstrates how the use of space can be maximised by incorporating what is known as reverse assembly.
By lowering the oak floor beam below the top plate we were able to create a usable mezzanine floor - accessed by a simple green oak ladder - and still keep to a strict planning condition for the ridge height.
When standing at the balustrade of the mezzanine, not only do you overlook the open living space but you also benefit from the wide reaching views out to sea through the fully glazed oak framed gable end.
For a glossary of timber frame terminology, see our design service page.
“Petrea and Nick were fantastic clients to deal with; their organisation made the whole project run very smoothly and efficiently. The high standard of finish and attention to detail shows just how much The Retreat means to them”
Standing at approximately 6m wide, 11.5m long and 5.5m high, this relatively modest sized frame demonstrates the potential that can be achieved with a smaller new build project. The finished home is testament to the talented crafts people involved in the project, the use of materials and the design. The internal walls are finished in a natural lime render which looks amazing against the green oak frame whilst retaining a contemporary twist.
The Retreat beautifully demonstrates how traditional carpentry can combine with fresh design and style to create the feeling of a light and spacious place to relax.
Thankfully, Petrea recovered from her illness, and the couple decided that instead of having a beautiful home sitting empty, that The Retreat could be enjoyed as a romantic getaway for many. Indeed, there have been a number of love stories set in this secluded oak home in Cornwall - why not book a stay in this most enchanting of Carpenter Oak houses?
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.
Yes! We are happy for you to visit and look around. You can book in here to see the Show Barn or Show House. Or, pick up the phone and talk to us. Generally, our advice would be to wait until you have a plot and an idea of what you are wanting to build but we are very willing to talk through plans for a plot at any time.
At that stage you can meet with one of our frame designers, and a free consultation with one of the architects if you would like. You will get far more from your visit if you do this – it is a chance to really talk through the design, layout, style, costs, materials, options with everyone in one place. We look forward to meeting you!
We have two show houses for you to visit - read more about the different options.
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.
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.