25 Mar 2024

A New Chapter: The Coach House’s Iconic Makeover

Amidst the historical grandeur of the Hillhampton House estate lies the Coach House, a structure tracing back to the 16th century. Under the expert guidance of Zebra Architects and the meticulous craftsmanship of 2 Counties Construction, this listed gem underwent a transformative renovation, emerging as a luxurious family home while safeguarding its architectural heritage.


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The Coach House forms part of the Hillhampton House estate, originally the hunting lodge for Witley Court, in Worcestershire. Built in the 16th century, the structure has been extended several times over the years and, therefore, comprises many different architectural styles.

Purchased with planning permission for residential conversion, the owners appointed a local chartered architect practice, Zebra, to manage the extensive renovation of the Grade II* Curtilage Listed Coach House.

“The building’s structure and fabric were in danger of becoming deteriorated but provided a great opportunity to create a new usable environment,” comments Matthew Parsons, Associate Director and Chartered Architectural Technologist at Zebra.

“The planning authority and English Heritage were very particular about the design of the building, and the concept was based around converting the spaces, but only if the interventions could be achieved without detrimental alteration to the character of the structure.”

To achieve this, the project required a main contractor with the necessary skill and experience to manage and deliver a complex renovation of a listed building.

“2 Counties Construction had tendered on a previous project and submitted a professional response, so we approached them for the Coach House,” continues Matthew.

“The Managing Director, Mark Davies, and his team provided a price that was well thought through and comprehensive, and they were able to commence work within the client’s timeframe. They were responsive to queries relating to their proposal and were willing to discuss details that would make the project go smoother. More importantly, they were human and felt like a team we could work well with.”

2 Counties Construction transformed the disused brick-built stable block into a four-bed luxury family home with a contemporary design, using traditional methods and materials.

The biggest challenge was combatting damp. This is one of the reasons the Worcester-based building contractor used lime products to improve the finish and durability of the structure, allowing the walls to breathe. There were also areas of traditional lathe and plaster that had to be preserved.

Thermal efficiency was vital to the success of the project, to create a warm and energy-efficient home. Multiple measures were employed to achieve this, including a thermally-upgraded roof. The groundworks also included preparatory works for the installation of an underground 10,000l oil storage tank. This was particularly challenging as the levels had to be accurate for the boilers to perform.

To meet planning stipulations, certain historic details had to be preserved or re-worked into the renovated structure. 2 Counties Construction re-laid the blue engineered brick floor, for example. Being a stable, the original floor was dished for drainage. The bricks were dug up and laid flat to create a charming and characterful floor in the kitchen.

Working with a specialist subcontractor, 2 Counties Construction also replaced sections of cornicing using a replica mould.

The Coach House is ancillary to the main house and, as such, significant external works were required. Alongside extensive groundworks, 2 Counties Construction remodelled the driveways and courtyard and installed a sewage treatment plant.

Due to the location and nature of the property, the building firm liaised with ecology and conservation professionals to install bat lofts and mitigation systems.

Commenting on the experience, Matthew concludes: “2 Counties Construction were professional, hard working and attentive. They could always be found on site, carrying out and planning work. They had the resources to be able to cope with the project and respond to a changing brief and extra requests without complaint.

“Mark was ever present on site and provided a constant client face. The project wasn’t handed down to someone else, and he was great at communicating to discuss issues and resolutions in advance.

“2 Counties did a fantastic job and went the extra mile to ensure the project was successful and delivered to an exceptional standard.”

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