Listed house – Green Retrofit

This was an ecological refurbishment of a listed late medieval house, carried out as a self-build project by Mark Hoare shortly before we established Hoare Ridge & Morris. We are strong believers in gaining building skills and trying things ourselves at home, and we think this also makes us more practical hands-on people.

The house has a ground source heat pump, external woodfibre insulation and lime plaster, and used hemp and wood-based insulation materials wherever changes were made. The house has had all energy supplied renewably since 2006. Most of the windows were replaced as the house had been poorly overhauled in the 1970s, so there was not much historic detail or fabric surviving, other than the timber frame.

The project was written up in the press shortly after the works were carried out, as it was a quietly pioneering retrofit of a listed building – improving energy efficiency without loss of architectural character. The approach here has fed into our subsequent work: we always want to make buildings more beautiful and more energy efficient, and we favour breathable and natural materials to synthetic, especially in historic building work. We are very alive to the potential condensation problems of insulation and historic buildings.