Arts and Crafts coach house gets a modern makeover

An Arts and Crafts cottage and its former coach house were living separate lives until their new owners saw the potential to give them a happier relationship

Very often, when an architect is asked to reinvent and renovate a traditional building, it’s a case of sweeping away compartmen­talised rooms to create a swathe of open-plan space. But things were rather different in the case of this property, an extended Arts and Crafts former coach house in North Berwick. Here the architect, Wil Tunnell, was presented with one large open space that offered endless possibilities.
So far, so liberating. But within this space, in an out­building that was effectively bigger than the traditional cottage to which it was attached, a house within a house was to be created. It had been used as a garage and work­shop for many years, but the clients wanted to turn it into an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area, with storage and a bathroom, and, to cap it all, an en-suite bedroom on the upper lever – quite a challenge in a space measuring around seven by eight metres.
To make things a little more complicated, the clients also wanted it to have a better connection to the out­side. The existing large openings, originally the coach house doors, faced north, which made the interior rather gloomy. The sunny south side looked out at the neighbour’s garden wall.
Wil had got involved in the project even before his clients had purchased the property. They could see it had potential but that the layout of the two separate areas was far from ideal. “The cottage had a decent-sized living room and four bedrooms but the kitchen was tiny. We liked it but we didn’t want to go ahead if we couldn’t create the kind of light, sunny interior we really wanted in the other part of the building. It was great to have Wil’s insight before we committed to buying it.”
The architect’s solution involved a strip of roof lights to let daylight flood in. Internally, there would be a lot of clever sliding and slotting to produce a flowing living space. Wil’s plan was to keep the shell really as it was and concentrate on the fit-out. “We had this fantastic great big opening that we could use to bring lots of light in,”

This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 118-125, issue 96.

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Words Caroline Ednie
Photography Dave Morris
Architect Wil Tunnell of WT Architecture, 0131 331 2813
What A former 1905 coach house
Where North Berwick
Brief To connect the coach house, cottage and outside space
Timescale Six months