Peter Bradley has a passion for restoring period buildings and a special love of barn conversions with 60 barn projects to his name to date. The renovation of Chorleywood’s Great Green Street Farm buildings (GGSF) had been a long time wish for Peter and he was ecstatic when, in 2015, the owner decided to sell the site for development to him and business partner, Nick Randall of the AIR Group.
“ I was converting barns in Harefield when the owner of GGSF first approached me.” says Peter. “I had my four year old nephew, Joel with me at the time. The owner kept changing his mind. After countless meetings and planning applications (reaching the contract stage 6 times!) we eventually signed. When we took the site on Joel was 24! ”
The twenty year wait for Great Green Street Farm, stresses Peter, was well worth it, although reviving the listed timber framed barns has been challenging. Peter’s PA Karen Lawrie has turned into an expert on historic buildings and listing restrictions in the process! As well as the derelict structures there were 13 acres of neglected land, towering spoil heaps, abandoned cars and wild horses to deal with before KSC Contractors’ team could set to work on clearing, bricklaying, fitting, roofing, tiling, flooring, carpentry, electrics, plastering, plumbing, decorating and fixing .
The result two years on is the creation of unique homes from five barns, and one cottage, a farmhouse and Tudor farm building, all providing light, open, contemporary living spaces and benefitting from an efficient rainwater harvesting system.
The brick farmhouse (C17, C18, C19) and adjoining Tudor building, both to be launched this month, are of greatest architectural and historical interest. Preservation and conservation were priority throughout the build and many original elements like oak beams and exposed brickwork retained. On top of this the farmhouse has distinctive period sash and casement windows, a characterful tiled roof verandah with rustic posts and flint and stone pathway.
The 500 year old farm building is arguably the jewel in the vintage crown. It would have accommodated animals on the ground floor and land workers on the first floor. The roof would have been thatched although had been replaced with hand made clay tiles.
“The Tudor framing is still evident.” says Peter, “and we have made the most of the high ceiling with an open plan layout and the fireplace in the middle as it was to keep the stable lads warm! Tall doors that accommodated riders on horseback have been replaced by high glazed panels to the same dimension. We had to meet Building Regs for thermal insulation, structural support and weatherproofing and used a 21st century thermal product, based on a concept for space exploration to insulate this 15th century building!”
“What we have achieved here is to give it another 500 years of life and residents will become custodians of a piece of English history!”