2021 Master Builder Awards, Overall Master Builder of the Year
National winner: Stonewood Builders Ltd
Tasked with the challenging restoration of a medieval hall house, parts of which dated back as far as the 12th century, Stonewood Builders Ltd demonstrated expert craftmanship and a deft touch in preserving the Grade II Listed property’s historic attributes, while upgrading the property to modern standards.
Once owned by Henry V’s standard bearer at Agincourt, the property had suffered less-than-regal treatment during previous renovations in the 1970s and 80s, and a major part of the works undertaken involved rolling back these modifications in order to restore the building’s true character. The team at Stonewood did this using traditional skills and crafts such as lime plastering and strapwork ceiling installations – abilities seldom found amongst contemporary UK builders.
The team restored the Great Hall to its former glory by replacing the late mid-century stone staircase with a period-appropriate panelled oak staircase, and a 16th century stone fireplace was painstakingly restored and aged using yoghurt. The Stonewood team even worked with the client to design and build a bespoke wrought iron candelabra to be suspended from the ceiling on a winch.
In the master bedroom the original supporting beams have been repaired, restored and sand-blasted to form a beautiful high ceiling above lime-washed stone walls and heritage oak flooring. A crucial step in this process was the addition of insulation between the rafters to prevent the room plunging to temperatures as low as -10 degrees during the winter. A gorgeous free-standing copper bath completes the space and offers the perfect spot to relax.
Whilst recovering the house’s historical assets was a key priority, the clients also wanted to modernise the home’s facilities. Stonewood undertook a careful balancing act to install underfloor heating, contemporary plumbing and electrical work, fibre optic broadband and additional communications technology, all without compromising the medieval setting.
The judges marvelled at Stonewood’s installation of the “stunning” staircase feature situated at the heart of the building, and described the team’s work as “beautiful”, “authentic” and finished to a very “high standard”. They hailed the rare skills displayed by this builder, and the knowledge shown in deciding when to employ them to complete a renovation worthy of royalty.
The team proceeded to furnish the historical property with a wealth of 21st century conveniences, including underfloor heating, contemporary plumbing and electrical work and fibre optic broadband – all carefully integrated into the medieval setting without compromising its aesthetic.”
The 2021 Master Builder awards concluded in September. Could one of your current projects win an award in the next competition? Nominations for the next awards will be opening in Autumn 2022, read more about it on our awards pages or contact [email protected] for more information.