The Beehive

Near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
Part one of a Chilterns AONB development: Grade II listed restoration

The original homeowners purchased The Beehive with the intention of dividing the large site in two, sympathetically restoring the listed property for resale, and then building a new family home for themselves on the remaining portion of land.

The property (originally a public house) had fallen into a state of disrepair and the design involved extensive demolition of the unsympathetic 1970s additions, with new extensions to enhance its character and comfort plus a new detached garage.

We collaborated on the design for The Beehive, making suggestions on how best to add value to this neglected 17th century listed property, while ensuring it was developed in line with its beautiful AONB location and listed status, and with emphasis on improving the environmental performance of the house.

After the sale, the new owners then asked us to incorporate further design changes part-way through construction, so we brought them and the original owners together to complete the project, which required some quick and clever thinking given its listed status. 

Environmental upgrades included a new air source heating system, full roof insulation, replacement of the external pebbledash render and interior plaster with a breathable lime plaster finish, new cavity insulation, double-glazing units meeting heritage requirements, and a new sedum roof on the flat roof extension. 

We used traditional construction methods and materials, bringing together modern comfort and heritage character, enhancing some of the original features uncovered during the project, and finishing it all off with landscaping for a traditional cottage garden. 

By lovingly restoring and extending the house in keeping with its age and setting, it’s become a wonderful family home full of light and charm.

See Colmena (next project) for the new-build property we designed on the same site

“The Beehive was a complex project involving the retention of as much of the history and character of a Grade 2 listed property as possible whilst completely modernising it and extending it. We wanted to create a home that showcased its history whilst being eco-friendly and comfortable for 21st century living. Bronwen was able to guide us through the challenges of achieving this with a design that made the most of the listed building and added new extensions that enhanced the existing structure, giving the listed building back its integrity, which had been lost over years of poorly considered additions during its life as a public house. We really valued Bronwen’s advice and experience throughout the build and the lengthy process of choosing the fit and finishes – something that was made far more complex by the need to shoehorn the requirements of modern living into a house originally constructed over 400 years ago! There was added complexity as Bronwen had to engage with two sets of clients (as well as the main contractor) – the vendors as owners and project managers of the build and us as the buyers and ultimate owners of the property – and all this during the pandemic and through numerous lockdowns where the only communication possible was via Zoom. Communication was fundamental to driving the project through to completion on time and Bronwen manged this extremely well and as clients we always knew what was expected of us. We are very happy with the end result!”

Richard W