Ranmore Common, Surrey Hills, Dorking
Full interior design and conversion of a disused stable yard into an award-winning new family home at Ranmore Common in the Surrey Hills, near Dorking.
An award-winning transformation
A derelict site in the Surrey Hills AONB was remodelled to create an extraordinary, award-winning family home in this stunning location. We designed a new entrance to create both a function link between the original buildings, as well as an aesthetic separation. Whilst acting as the hub of circulation throughout this property, its design stands off the original stable block and allows the layout of the earlier building to still be appreciated.
A magnificent kitchen and dining room
An expansive kitchen and dining room occupies an entire wing of the previous stable block, with the room retaining the original ceiling trusses supporting the vaulted ceiling. Looking out over the courtyard as well as the entrance to the property, it is very much the centre of life in this beautiful family home.
Celebrating the original features in the new interiors
The internal layout of the new home required meticulous space planning. It was crucial that the new home and the rooms within it would make the best use of the original features, and to feel like a natural development rather than a forced reworking. New rooms and ‘broken plan’ areas use the original elements to their advantage, enhancing the original building just as much as these features bring a warmth and natural serenity to the new interior.
Welcome to this beautiful home at Ranmore Common. Recipient of the Surrey Property Awards’ Best Stand-Alone Property, this renovation was celebrated for its considered layout, creative approach to interiors and its respect for the original architecture.
The project saw three standalone barns reworked into an elegant home, whose wings now wrap naturally around three sides of a courtyard, with a focus on generous views across the tranquil garden.
“Never having been intended for residential use, the site presented unique challenges, not least in terms of reworking the property’s configuration.
“The aim was to create a series of semi open-plan, intuitive spaces, that maximised light and views over Box Hill, while providing practical living solutions that respected the original stable structures.”
Inspired by the buildings’ rural setting, the renovation combines organic materials with a series of contemporary touches. Vaulted ceilings are complemented by oak flooring and natural wood finishes, combined with colour pops through a richly painted kitchen, vibrant artwork and floral fabrics.
Background to the Site
This was a major residential conversion and an immensely challenging project. The site was a derelict stable yard, and we worked closely with the clients to design this beautiful new house, whilst still retaining the character and features of the original building. We sought to enhance and celebrate the existing architecture, whilst creating understated interiors with a sense of longevity.
In designing the interiors and providing creative vision for the project, along with visualisations and walk-through simulations of their new home, we enabled them to make a success of this once-in-a-lifetime project.
An Incredibly Challenging Building
Down a private road and footpath in the Surrey Hills – a combination of rare seclusion with stunning views over to Box Hill – the site was old, disused stable yard. An immensely challenging site, as it had never been designed or built to be a residential dwelling. The architect had already gained planning permission with an outline scheme prior to the purchase of the property by our client, and the shape, footprint and as much of the original building as possible needed to be retained. We then needed to turn this series of stable blocks, in three long single-storey wings, into a beautiful family home, and a home that works.
Developing and Refining Internal Layouts
We were preaching to the converted, and our clients recognised that it would be crucial to thoroughly explore the interior layout and design of their home, not just the exterior. Detailed planning and design of the interior would be fundamental to the success of this unique conversion, and we worked closely with the client and architect to challenge, develop and refine the internal layouts of the home.
We wanted to maximise the open spaces that were possible from this conversion, yet at the same time it was crucial to ensure that individual areas retained a sense of personal scale and their own identities. The home needed to work for the clients as a couple, and with four young adult children it needed to accommodate their wider family too when needed.
Our key layout design considerations:
- arrival and entrance;
- logical circulation;
- open spaces where possible;
- personal scale to individual areas;
- privacy and seclusion for bedrooms;
- natural light and views;
- a sensitive conversion;
- no compromises as a family home!
Seeing and Experiencing How the Home Would Work
Walking around a disused building with hay still on the floor, it was difficult for our clients to imagine how the interior spaces would look, feel and work together. With the existing architectural elements needing to be incorporated into the new home – vaulted ceilings, roof trusses and beams – we created a 3D model of the entire property so that alongside the development of the layouts, we could show the client how the internal space planning would work.
This allowed us to demonstrate how we designed the layouts and the rooms to enhance, and to be enhanced by, the existing architectural elements of the stable block. It was also a walk-through model that the client could move around in, look around in, and gain confidence from experiencing and understanding the possibilities for their home.
From Layouts to CAD via Lighting Design
The extensive development work resulted in a final design for an exceptional new home. It also included one of the most challenging lighting design schemes we have ever worked on. Most ceilings are vaulted and there are limited positions for light fittings, and in this ‘broken plan’ layout some of the open areas in fact comprise different ‘rooms’.
We designed a careful lighting plan that accentuates the architectural structure while concealing light sources. The spaces are lit discreetly yet effectively, enhancing the vaulted ceilings whilst picking out architectural details with accent lighting. Decorative fittings are used to zone interior areas, with task lighting provided where it’s needed. Hardest of all, we ensured that the intricately designed scheme is simple to understand and easy and intuitive to control.
Entrance and Welcome
We created a sensitively designed yet clearly defined entrance and hallway for the property. The sheltered, glass-fronted entrance welcomes visitors into the home and through to the courtyard, its space and roofline rising up into the internal courtyard garden. It links all of the interior spaces together, yet respects and preserves the sense of the original access route into the stable yard.
A Serene Sitting Room and Music Room
On one side of the hallway is the ‘broken-plan’ sitting room delineated by a double-sided wood-burning stove, which serves to both zone and unify the interior spaces.
The new chimney stack is a key element in this layout, which along with the exposed roof trusses adds scale to these reception spaces. Beyond the chimney and the sitting room is a music room with a grand piano and courtyard views. Plenty of timber, both painted and exposed, has grounding appeal.
As well as refining the use of space, we sought to work with the original fabric of the building to enhance the interior of the finished home. Here the position of the new fireplace creates a perfectly symmetrical space, allowing us to use the existing roof trusses to ‘frame’ the two ends of the music room.
The Courtyard Garden
Throughout this home the interior design and arrangement isn’t just based on the individual spaces. We considered how the spaces interact, how we experience them as we move through them, and the views that can be enjoyed along the way. The new home wraps around three sides of the courtyard, and each wing enjoys spectacular views into and across this tranquil garden space.
A Magnificent Kitchen Centrepiece
On the other side of the hallway is a magnificent kitchen and dining room. Occupying a whole side of the stable yard and flooded with light from both sides, it enjoys views of both the entrance to the house as well as the garden courtyard. The kitchen is carefully planned around a large island, providing a functional space which encourages socialising and allows comfortable circulation through to the bedrooms in the wing beyond.
The bespoke kitchen combines rich colours and striking finishes, and it’s a stunning centrepiece to this unique and wonderful home.
Open circulation spaces connect the common spaces to the bedrooms and other areas, and natural light and courtyard views are enjoyed all along the bedroom wing. Careful lighting accentuates the architectural structure whilst hiding the light sources. The boot room and utility area aren’t forgotten either, and simple pendants bring warmth and character to this practical space.
Once again the layout uses the original features to maximum effect in these new rooms, with the bedrooms exploit the stunning vaulted ceilings. The main bedroom is full of natural light, and with views across the courtyard. A dressing area is concealed neatly behind the bed, with open access yet carefully orientated to offer privacy.
Classical fittings and traditional materials contribute to a sense of timelessness in the bathrooms. The main bathroom is awash with light from above, and the spacious, contemporary layout includes an enormous walk-in shower area. The room is finished in matching limestone, bringing a soft, natural feel to this elegant space. Further bathrooms use the same range of fittings along with complementary finishes for a consistent feel throughout the home.
A Stunning Home Without Compromise
With a challenging property, which was never supposed to be a home, our sensitive transformation respects the original building and results in a new home which meets the clients’ needs and suits their lifestyle.
It’s more than just a design that works without any compromise due to its origins, it’s a project that uses the original to enhance the new in this stunning new home.
The clients are delighted to live in this exceptional home and unique location, whilst we are thrilled to have won an award in recognition of our work with them on their fabulous, forever home.