Set in the beautiful Derwent Valley, Station House is the only building left at the former Rowlands Gill station, which was the stopping point on the line from the River Tyne to the Consett steelworks. By carefully blending contemporary design and historical character, Gateshead based builders Homeworx, have transformed this charming family home into a unique and stylish property.
When owner Adam Nolan realised that his family of five had outgrown their traditional brick built home, he appointed architect Giles Arthur to design a new extension. As Station House enjoys a superb location overlooking the Derwent and the Gibside National Park, both men agreed that this project should make the most of the property’s stunning views.
Aesthetically, the property’s location was perfect, but it presented a major problem when it came to laying new foundations. According to Craig of construction company Homeworx, the condition of the foundation ground was the worst that he’d come across in 15 years. Because the ground had been stripped, there was no soil at all, simply boulder clay full of stones, cobbles and boulders. Some of these were too heavy for one man to lift, making it impossible to excavate a trench.
Mr Nolan’s father, a geologist who was also acting as project manager, recalls how “pulling the boulders out would inevitably have left partial voids to fill-not a good idea.” To solve this problem, he suggested using raft foundations, which consist of large concrete blocks spread out under an entire building or a large part of it. These lower the pressure on the ground below, creating a stable alternative to traditional foundations.
As the local building control representative was happy with this plan, it was now the job of architect Giles Arthur to ensure that the building would comply with fire regulations. Instead of installing fire resistant glazing, Mr Nolan agreed for a domestic sprinkler system to be installed as a means of escape. Sustainability was also a crucial consideration, so the property’s zinc finish was lined with insulation and its solid wall construction was designed to ensure that heat would be kept in.
The design of Station House’s three-storey extension was inspired by the galvanised steel and brick water tower that supplied steam trains when they stopped at the original station. The exterior workmanship is of a very high standard and features brick, glass and zinc. Builders Homeworx also constructed a 3-storey curtain wall overlooking the gardens of Gibside, a property belonging to The National Trust.
Inside the Nolans’ home, floor decks were used to reduce the depth of the floors, allowing room for extra storeys. All of the rooms have a light spacious feel, thanks to the addition of floor to ceiling glazed walls, which were designed to make the most of the property’s amazing views.
By contrasting modern minimalist design with original features like the door arches and round windows, Giles Arthur and Homeworx have created a unique family home that fuses old and new architecture with stunning results. According to the architect, Mr Nolan and his family are: “delighted with the finished result as they now have a light-filled house with open-plan family rooms and plenty of bedrooms for their four boys.”
Station House was the deserving winner of the LABC Northern Best Extension Award in 2016 and was also shortlisted for the national 2016 awards in London.
For more information and guidance about renovating your home, take a look at our handy guide; Tyne and Wear Guide to Renovating Your Home