Reimagining a coach house
for modern family living

Designed in 1805 by renowned architect Sir John Nash, this Grade ll listed former coach house in the Devon countryside, sits on a south-facing hill, with uninterrupted views to the River Dart.

Though retaining its classical appeal and proportions, the house had previously been poorly converted and needed significant repair and internal reworking to transform it into a modern and practical family home. The brief – and the challenge – was to achieve this while retaining the essence of Nash’s original design.

We had previously worked with our clients and so we had a good understanding of their needs and requirements. Together, we assessed the features that had first attracted them to the property and advised on which elements would need to be altered or rebuilt.

Preserving and repairing where appropriate, interior spaces were reconfigured and traditional details reinterpreted. Nash's original building was based on Palladian principals, and we emphasised this further by creating axial views through the building from one side to the other and beyond to the garden.

The work was undertaken in three phases, beginning with the conversion and restoration of the existing building. This was followed by the addition of two unashamedly contemporary elements: to the west, a glazed light-filled living space with views across the garden and, echoing the symmetry of Nash’s original design, an open pergola and pool to the east.

The main staircase was repositioned and redesigned to improve flow and to sit more comfortably with the building's muted classical aesthetic. Similarly, new panelled and arched door and window linings were designed to accord with the original arched openings of the coach house.

Photographing the property again, twenty years after our conversion, it was interesting to see how once-new additions and changes have long settled into the character of the house. Outside, the stone walls and hard landscaping we added, are softened by time and nature with mosses and ferns. Inside, hardwearing limestone floors and the crafted joinery elements, particularly the staircase, are improving with the patina of wear and time.

McLean Quinlan
Interior Design
McLean Quinlan
Structural Engineer
Frank Van Loock Associates
Strutt & Parker
JDC & Co.
Landscape Consultants
McLean Quinlan
Jim Stephenson