Design Director Oliver Westgarth has undertaken the unconventional renovation and conservation of the listed Le Mont Saint farm and barn buildings, to create a new home for himself and his family.
The important listed complex consists of 4 principal phases commencing in 1657 and then in 1830, 1850 and during the Occupation. The current works establish the 5th phase of the building’s life and are clearly expressed.
The design rejects the traditional ‘barn conversion’ and instead creates a nuanced modern building, with fun, bright 21st century family spaces, whilst ‘framing’ historic features and details from all phases in a philosophically ‘honest’ way.
The main living spaces are mostly set within the north facing 1850’s barn, which looks over a terraced landscape towards the sea. The multi-level open plan ‘courtyard’ draws in southern light through specially made rooflights overhead, whilst a giant bespoke sliding door (4.5m’s high) visually draws in the trees outside.
This central courtyard ‘frames’ the stone spine wall which runs the length of the spaces and acts as a tapestry, tangibly telling the story of the building’s life.
The north facing barn is hyper-insulated and lined, improving thermal performance whilst creating a crisp visual finish. In contrast the older southern facing areas are lined using natural breathable insulation and lime plaster. The spine wall separating these areas is left exposed to the main living areas but is insulated to the rear, encapsulating the spine wall and maximising thermal mass.
Multiple experimental techniques have been used throughout and the building now clearly tells the next chapter in its own story.