WELLS, SOMERSET

Client:

Domestic

Completion Date:

2021

Alterations, Refurbishment and Extension

Project Description:

ARCHIWEST-Logo

Converted Watermill

An historic watermill project with a continuous history stretching back to 1535, and records as early as 1302. Converted from a grist mill to a papermill in the 18th Century, and subsequently converted to a house in the 1960's, it became home to a well regarded prisoner of war artist who converted the former paper drying loft into an artists studio.   

This huge building had fallen into disrepair with a precarious roof structure and unstable walls, and required serious investment to safeguard its future. Our involvement with the project started in late 2019 with the new owners following planning approval for rebuilding the rear section of the building and an orangery extension. The programme of works included total refurbishment throughout including a complete new roof. 

One very unique aspect to this project also included the restoration of a 1950's turbine and hydroelectric plant. When fully operational this will provide sustainable energy harnessed from the mill stream to run the entire house.

ArchiWest worked closely with the engineer to develop elements such as the roof details, which included a number of large steel ridge beams, spanning between gables to provide a series of vaulted ceilings internally. This not only increased the feeling of spaciousness, but added interesting ceiling angles that reflects the quirky nature of the building.

The building had been cement rendered throughout, trapping moisture within the thick stone walls and slowly deteriorating the building fabric. This was carefully removed to expose the natural stonework, and repointed with a soft lime mortar, slaked on site. The roof was stripped back, timbers repaired and reclaimed double roman tiles installed. The poor conditioned timber windows were replaced with energy efficient thin framed aluminium windows that significantly improved the thermal performance and have a long life expectancy with very little maintenance.