Vastern's wide range of timbers
One of the most prestigious, high specification and environmentally friendly, small residential developments in south-west England has been built using a variety of timber supplied by the Vastern/Barnes, Branch group. The Paxton House Square project, by Dependable Homes of Harrow, and built by Pepper Best Developments, is centred on the former Victorian Gothic cottage hospital in red brick, just off the town centre at Ottery St Mary, Devon.
The hospital was built on some adjoining gardens, donated by the townspeople for the purpose, and was opened in 1882. It has taken more than three years to restore this building, remodel it internally into four homes; redevelop adjacent one-time nurses’ and staff accommodation into four more dwellings, and add five new buildings in the two-acre hospital grounds, in keeping with the 19th-century architecture.
The developers have a strong reputation for using recycled, reclaimed and natural materials in their projects, converting sympathetically, and building in traditional ways. The houses feature hand-built kitchens and staircases, mosaic and marble bathrooms, hardwood floors fixed with rosehead nails, big pointed-style picture windows with traditional sash fixings, stained glass, and reclaimed brick and limerendered elevations. A number of labourers were on site for twelve months, simply cutting the bricks to be laid in English and Flemish bond.
The timber supplied by the Vastern/Barnes, Branch group included Douglas fir, oak, cherry, chestnut, elm, ash and walnut, for the aim was to use different woods for different applications in each home. Some 5,000 square feet of hardwood flooring was laid – in Vastern-supplied ash, oak, character oak, brown tiger oak and chestnut – in the lounges and living rooms of the main building, and everywhere else in halls and dining rooms, and along landings and passages.
Ash was used decoratively and to great effect to inlay some of the dining room floors, which consequently took up to three weeks to complete. Timber from Vastern/Barnes, Branch group was also used to make the high skirting boards, door cases and architraves, decorative boxing and panelling in the bathrooms, wall panelling, staircases, handrails, newel posts, balustrades, spindles, and the backing to outside light plates. Most of these were custom-made on site by a specialist team of carpenters and joiners.
The site was opened to the public for the first time at the end of July. The properties are priced variously, starting at around £350,000, and the seller’s agents are Halls of Ottery St Mary (Tel: 01404 812000 or e-mail: email@example.com).