• Location: Dorset
  • Client: Private
  • Project status: Planning obtained
  • Project type: New Build/Barn Conversion
  • Size: 4500sqft

Dorset New Home

This 5 bedroom new house near Shaftesbury is part of a Class Q barn conversion. It replaces a steel-framed barn that is currently used for agricultural storage. The replacement dwelling will be considerably smaller than the existing barn, and RBA carefully considered its orientation and location. It lies in the southern corner of a large field, and is set back to be less visible from the road and nearby properties.

The new home is a blend of traditional and contemporary architecture. The pitched roof, limestone gables and timber cladding reflect the local vernacular, while the windows and doors are more modern.  Internally, the ground floor consists of a large kitchen-diner, snug, drawing room, office, cloakroom, boot room and utility. The second storey includes a large master suite with en-suite bathroom and dressing area, and another 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

In an exciting first for Richmond Bell Architects, the development will be completely off-grid, with an array of solar panels in the north of the field. These will supply the house with at least 95% of all its energy needs and make it virtually self-sufficient. The house will therefore not be connected to the national energy power network. The panels, and a field shelter to house their batteries, have also been carefully sited to reduce visual impact on the countryside.


To further reduce the environmental impact of the building and increase the sustainability of the site, the surrounding field will be rewilded.  This includes the planting of new trees and creation of a small pond to provide homes for wildlife. The field shelter provides opportunities for barn owl roosts, and the client will also install several bat boxes. New hedging to the north of the house will act as a boundary between the domestic curtilage and surrounding land.

Dorset Council also granted permission for a 3 bay garage alongside the house and include a shower and ancillary accommodation on first floor.

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