In the fashionable Tivoli area of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire was a long thin property including a small watchmenders shop. Originally 3 small houses, the property had spent most of it's life as two properties before being made into one some years ago. The various alterations had created an house of dark, narrow corridors and small dark rooms. Our brief was to convert the outdated and unloved building into two, well-proportioned, contemporary homes for modern living.
Status:Started 2020 - Completion due 2021
Structural Engineer:David Partridge
Our client approached RRA to assess the property with a view to conversion. The building, although originally three tiny houses, had spent much of it’s existance as two properties – number 53 was a shop with living quarters and number 54 was a residential house. We prepared a provisional scheme, so when the building was purchased at auction in November 2020, Planning Permission could be applied for immediately. Planning Approval to return the single residence back to two houses and Change of Use approval to take the shop from commercial to residential was achieved within just ten weeks of the purchase.
The previous work had been poorly carried out and the property was in a poor state. Ad hoc alterations to the building over time had resulted in a hotch-potch effect of small dark rooms, narrow corridors and unusual, inbuilt cupboards. Our scheme strips the building back to the original shell and divides the long property into a quaint one bed house at number 53 and a spacious open plan, two bed house at 54. Both properties will benefit from a small courtyard garden and high specification roof lights to flood natural light through the building.
Initial investigations have confirmed that the roof is in a good condition and just needs minor works to make good after the roof lights are installed.
Sadly, the floor is not the same story, under the old, worn carpets is a rotten, wooden floor with some areas crumbling away. This is in part due to a rather surprising discovery of an old well under the flooring. In the early 19th Century it was unusual, but not unheard of, to have a well inside the kitchen or scullery, sometimes this would be used to supply water to other houses in the street.
Unfortunately, the well is not of good enough quality to restore and make into a feature, so the Structural Engineer advises on how to safely cover this and progress with the floor.
Strip out is well underway and the beginnings of the new layout start to take shape.
One original chimney is in a good condition and it is agreed this will be retained for the character of the property. The other chimney is less stable and a difficult decsion is made to safely remove this. As a result, significant floor space is gained and a more practical, open-plan living arrangment can be achieved.
To our clients delight, despite Covid-19, lockdown and having to liaise and co-ordinate with the utilities companies, the work is ahead of program, indicating that the site will be ready for first fix stage by the end of March.
We are pleased to report works are progressing in a timely manner at the Old Watch Repair Shop with the concrete floors poured ready for the underfloor heating and screed to be added on top. The old, draughty windows with rotten frames have been replaced by new, purpose made, heritage sash windows. The next stages will be the plaster boarding and fit out of the kitchens and bathrooms.