Wilmont Cottage: a contemporary twist to a listed building extension, Belfast, NI
This Grade B Listed cottage in Belfast received a new lease of life with this incredible listed building extension.
The client wanted space and light from her new extension – the two things this historic cottage couldn’t provide on its own. At the same time we needed to preserve the integrity of the Listed Building and not confuse the historical context which would be the case if we simply added a large extension that was a mock of the original.
Additionally, Listed Building regulations state that any extension should be subservient to the Listed Building – which is quite right. That normally means smaller – but it shouldn’t if you design the extension correctly.
The extension would be a walled garden to the rear of the cottage – closed on three sides, with the fourth, open to the woodland beyond. Within the walled garden, and adjacent to the long side of the cottage, we would insert a room – a glazed living space, with its flat-roof tucked neatly under the decorative eaves of the old cottage. This would lead open out into the walled garden. It would also link the ground floor rooms of the cottage to the garage and studio, in total, trebling the original living space.
Rather than confuse the historical setting of the Listed Building with an extension of similar materials, the walled garden and living space would be white rendered walls and glazed planes. It was separated completely from the cottage by thin glazed strips of wall so that it appeared to exist respectfully beside, rather than grow from, the Listed cottage. A ten metre long wall of sliding glass planes opening fully on to the broad terrace of the walled garden completes the contemporary look.
Jane Burnside is a specialist in house design in NI and an expert her field. To each project she brings 25 years of experience and uses that to solve, what can seem, impossible design problems. For Wilmont Cottage, the client had gone through three other architects and abandoned their design ideas before finding the perfect solution with Jane Burnside. A solution that trebled her living accommodation, brought light and airyness into the old cottage and most importantly, she worked closely with the all the authorities to achieve it.