Breathing new life into an Oxfordshire farmhouse

21st January, 2016

So when Michelle and her husband Dave, saw the outside of an old farmhouse from the end of the long garden , Michelle knew instantly that she wanted to buy it and offered the asking price without even seeing the inside. The plot was part of Whitelands Farm, an old farm complex that was being divided and sold as different lots. Just outside Bicester and close to the M40 Michelle and Dave knew it was the perfect location for a large family home that could incorporate all the things on their wish list. “We lived nearby in a large four-bedroom detached house we had renovated 10 years ago. I always wanted to design and develop my own home for the financial sense development makes and the desire to design a family home to my exact specification, using my talent for design” says Michelle. The farmhouse already had a design scheme in place but Michelle had different ideas. She sat down with the builder and architect and arranged for the existing six small rooms to be reconfigured and three walls to be removed to create a spacious open-plan kitchen/diner/living room with exposed beams complete with original meat hooks. Another room was doubled in size to create a family room complete with bi fold doors leading onto the patio and the lawns beyond, and a derelict outbuilding was rebuilt and incorporated into the floorplan to create a playroom for their two-year-old son Zack and a downstairs toilet. Just one room remains its original size, a study with a massive oak beam in the fireplace, original pine floorboards and reclaimed furniture to tie in with the authentic original features.

“The builder who bought the entire plot was planning on renovating the house in its current layout, plastering over all of the internal stone walls and not exposing the full vaulted ceilings and beams. I wasn’t happy about that, but luckily the builders were extremely flexible and were happy to take on all of the customisations I requested, so we agreed to buy the house on the understanding that the vaulted ceilings and beams would be exposed,” Michelle explains. “It turned out to be pretty labour intensive an