Norfolk couple transform ugly cereal store into luxury home
A husband and wife who bought a £ 290,000 corrugated steel grain store in a plowed field in Norfolk have turned it into a luxury home.
Luke and Klara Hawes may have been ridiculed by friends when they salvaged the ugly and redundant farm building near Reepham as a vacation home. But now those friends are all lining up for an invitation after the Hawes have created a home for the people of tomorrow.
And they love living in the BlueSky Barn so much that they gave up on the holiday home idea, sold their home in London – and moved to Norfolk with their two boys aged 11 and eight.
Mr Hawes, director of design firm PriestmanGoode in London, and his wife, an interior designer at klarahawes.com in Norwich, fell in love with the idea of being in Norfolk. Mr. Hawes grew up in Attlebridge and his parents now live near Dereham.
Wanting to escape the big smoke, the couple were unsure what kind of house they were planning to set up in Norfolk until they saw the grain store.
“I design the interiors of planes, and I did Terminal 5 at Heathrow. Most people who think of barn conversions think of exposed beams and rustic fireplaces, but that’s not really us, ”Mr. Hawes said.
Once they bought the 2.5 acre parcel with the Steel Grain Store, they actually spent time living in an RV parked in the field so they could see where the light was falling and get a real idea of their surroundings.
“We lived in a Georgian townhouse in Hammersmith, neglected on all sides, so we just needed to get used to so much space. Some look a bit like something James Bond, ”Mr. Hawes said.
The building was sold with a building permit but the couple had to create accommodation with the same 450 m2 footprint and in harmony with the surroundings. It was actually these stipulations that helped their vision to create a house that paid homage to the industrial feel of the farm building that stood there. The house is largely new construction although it uses original structures and follows the same roof line at the front.
There is a silo-like structure in the middle and canopies or larch wood slats that hide the windows and look like the corrugated steel exterior of the original store.
So from the outside it really doesn’t look like a residential dwelling. Inside, it is an architectural marvel with 8m high ceilings and four bedrooms upstairs separated by a glass mezzanine. Porcelain tiles resembling a concrete floor are complemented by plywood on the walls and a huge living room / kitchen with a 15m long heated swimming pool separated by sliding glass doors.
“We wanted the pool to be an integral part of the house, we can watch the boys from the living room, but we also wanted to use it to keep the air and water temperature constant. We have underfloor heating which makes it very energy efficient, ”Ms. Hawes said.
An innovative bench around an equipped table is their dining area and from there a separate TV / cinema room. The kitchen is made up of custom black units without handles.
On the outside, the Hawes have covered most of the rear, so it’s big enough for the boys to play soccer and golf, but created a Mediterranean feel to the side and front. with palm trees and beds with an olive tree, rosemary and lavender. The raised beds have vegetables and another separate garden has been planted as an orchard with apple, plum and pear trees. Much overlooks a beautiful old church, which Mr. Hawes knew as a child because his father, the venerable Arthur Hawes, a retired archdeacon, presided over it.
“Coming from London, we just wanted to look at something green,” Mr. Hawes said. “We called it BlueSky because of the incredible blue skies in Norfolk and also because of its significance as something creative or visionary.”