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Gatekeeper’s glory

A derelict former gatehouse has been sensitively transformed into an energy-efficient home with contemporary-style interiors
The front of the property is designed to match the original building; a new garage and porch entrance increase the original size by half

After 30 years of living in a large Victorian villa, with their children now grown up, design consultants Tania and Donald Stewart felt it was time to downsize. “We were rattling around in a large six-bedroom property, on the verge of despair because we couldn’t find a suitable house on the market in our area,” says Tania. “This was until I noticed a little lodge for sale.” She immediately got on the phone and arranged a viewing.

The former gatehouse was built towards the end of the 19th century and became the lodge of Clayton Park House, which was demolished by Sir Arthur Sutherland to enlarge the gardens of his own home, Mansion House. The building survived and is a historic landmark located in the Jesmond conservation area in an area of outstanding natural beauty surrounded by mature trees.

Inside, the ground floor layout included a reception room, galleystyle kitchen, one bathroom and two bedrooms. “It had been rented for years and was currently empty. It was one of those buildings where the rooms felt colder than the temperature outside,” says Tania. After deciding to go ahead with the purchase, everything fell into place at the right time. “We exchanged on selling our previous home and buying this house at the same time,” she adds. “We were only moving one street away from where we used to live, so we didn’t need to worry about fitting into the neighbourhood.” While the purchase may have been straightforward, the project ahead of them wasn’t, as the couple faced many difficult obstacles to update the lodge while respecting the heritage of the building.

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About Build It

The October edition of Build It magazine brings you a wealth of information to help make a success of your self build, renovation, extension or conversion project – including: • A 1960s property transformed into a characterful home (page 22) • 10 tips to make the most of your self-build plot (page 62) • The best glazed doors for your project (page 75) • Complete guide to building an eco home (page 81) • How to get the planners on side (page 105) … and more!