At Woldon we are passionate about historic buildings, their settings and stories. We enjoy working with skilled craftspeople who have the knowledge and expertise to bring our designs to life. Our approach successfully balances respect for the historic setting and the impact of change, with the creation of value for our clients and users.
By developing an understanding of the heritage significance of historic buildings within a cultural context, we prepare strategies to manage sustainable futures, meet contemporary goals, while maintaining authenticity and meaning.
Harnessing our knowledge - and that of specialist partners when required – we recognise the unique characteristics of our architectural heritage and allow this understanding to inform our design proposals. We make sure our work meets future requirements for individual projects to safeguard ongoing use and maintenance.
Woldon recognises that the way in which historic buildings function, are maintained and enhanced is critical to their sustainability. We also acknowledge that it is more important than ever to ensure that the demands placed on building performance meet climate regulations and requirements.
Font House is an exemplar of refurbishment and regeneration of a derelict site replete with historic fabric and significance through a combination of old and new. The setting of Nevill Holt and appearance of Font House garden in the Estate Map of 1661 rendered the replacement of the dilapidated bungalow an imperative.
Through a new local ironstone house and garden an important contribution has been made to the re-purposing of Nevill Holt as a highly significant historic house that provides a valuable contribution to the region’s culture and learning through the annual opera festival and the access that this provides.
The garden walls were sensitively repaired with bespoke coping designs baked by Bulmer while hand-tooled ironstone by Weldon Stone reflects closely that found in the Hall. Nineteenth century leadwork dragons were also carefully dismantled, repaired and conserved by Skillingtons. These ‘knucker’ dragons are mythical Norse figures that protect holy waters, likely introduced by the nineteenth century owners as a reference to the spa that existed at Nevill Holt in the previous century. With water reintroduced to Nevill Holt at Font House via these restored knuckers, a renewed vitality to the site has been achieved.
The barn itself required careful handling to convert. The elm roof structure was carefully reconstructed, most timbers being retained, and the roof recovered in reclaimed clay tiles. Lime render was repaired and reinstated to the internal walls and extensive lime mortar pointing required to the external walls. Folding oak-framed glazed doors were installed to retain key access points, the same doors being used in the new wings to provide maximum flexibility whilst lending continuity between old and new.
The east wing rests on the downhill side of the site. Providing living accommodation and garages, it is constructed from solid timber and insulated with a double layer of sheepswool. The facades are clad in narrow spaced oak boarding in reference to the former agricultural nature of the site, while the roof is covered in reclaimed clay tiles to provide a cohesive link to the barn. The internal walls are clad in painted tongue and groove softwood boarding.
The west wing is embedded in the landscape on the uphill side of the site. Providing sleeping accommodation and the pump room, this wing is constructed from in situ concrete with local ‘dry stone’ limestone cladding. A single string course of dressed local limestone acts as a visual anchor whilst providing a cohesive link to the fine dressed stone lintels to be found on the barn facades. The floors are tiled in stone that was excavated, cut and prepared on site.