Marlborough’s streets are packed with architectural gems from previous centuries; its built environment is testament to the generations of people who have lived and worked here over hundreds of years. Sadly, many historic houses have been lost along the way, as they’ve made room for new developments or lost their character features in the wake of unsympathetic modern makeovers. A pair of Grade-II-listed eighteenth-century townhouses on one of the town’s oldest streets had suffered such an indignity, with 1970s additions that concealed the underlying beauty of the property.
Our clients wanted to rescue the house, with the aim of transforming it into a modern home with as much of its history as possible intact. The brief stipulated that we achieve a harmonious balance between old and new – to salvage the character of the original building, while incorporating contemporary features that would create a fresh chapter in its history. One of the most important elements of this commission was to restore the walled garden that made this house such a special find in Marlborough’s town centre.
The challenges of refurbishing an old and important property such as this should never be underestimated. Listed buildings come with their own complications, of course (not all visible until work starts), and which usually impact the construction schedule as any alterations to approved work have to be resubmitted for consideration by the relevant authorities before progress can be made. In addition, the difficulty of working on a site where access is restricted usually affects the budget as well as the timeline. The walled garden was a challenge in itself, as it had to be painstakingly reconstructed on a sloping site.
The newly restored home is a triumph. Gone are the 1970s extensions and muddled renovations of the last few decades, replaced by clean, modern lines that enhance and accentuate the features that date back to the origins of the house. The fragments of authentic construction take on a new sense of place and are given room to breathe, while the contemporary upgrades – like the beautifully crafted oak staircase – provide a stylistic contrast that exudes quality and add a new layer to the history and enduring character of the home.