case studies

Below is a summary of a project to give you a feel for the diverse nature of our work in recent years.

Rotherfield - Commercial and Residential Development

Project Introduction

Our clients had purchased a grade 2 listed building (circa 1450) in a conservation area and AONB.  The property was laid out as a single dwelling and integrated antiques shop on the ground floor with further habitable space on the first floor. It had been neglected and disused for a number of years. The idea was to reinstate the commercial property as a café with a self-contained flat above and a separate three-storey house. Budget £500K.



Problems Faced by the Client 

The building was in a very poor condition following lack of maintenance and several years of neglect. It is difficult to secure a mortgage for a property above a commercial space which means a clear, physical division between commercial and residential use needed to be established in the building. This would effectively create three independent units. Additionally, the building was located on a challenging High Street so any works needed careful planning and thought to minimise impact to local adjacent services and residents.


The Tangent Space Solution

Firstly, it was necessary to collate and compile a series of studies on the building to know what we were working with. This included a full measured survey of the existing building using the latest laser measuring technologies, an archaeological assessment of the building to understand its historical context and phasing, and a full structural assessment of the main oak frame. Working closely with the local authority conservation team, negotiations were undertaken to conclude the best way forward with the project and secure the required change in use applications, and planning with listed building consent. 


To circumvent the potential commercial/residential mortgage issue, we built a separating party wall within the existing building.


The Result

The end result created a four-bedroom family home – we converted the loft space to make a master suite -, a café fitted out with a commercial kitchen and a self-contained two-bedroom apartment over with a small courtyard garden. The building works included a major overhaul of the main buildings oak frame with numerous repairs. The roof was completely stripped and renovated, including a new linking roof structure between the medieval and Victorian parts of the building. A new party wall was constructed from basement level right up to the roof space ensuring the required separation of the buildings uses.


Overseeing the works for the clients ensured we were on hand at all times to answer and deal with the construction works, including further local authority and specialist consultant negotiations. The project went on to be nominated by the village parish council for the Sussex Heritage Trust Award and gained a highly commended award for its use of sensitive materials alongside new technologies.


It was one of the first commercial buildings in the UK to use far infrared heating and structural resins to limit the impact on the historic building fabric.


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