At Ashfield, we don’t claim to be able to move mountains, but we viewed a steep hillside as an exciting challenge rather than an obstacle when Howard and Julia Shaw commissioned us to extend their two-bedroom cottage in Esholt.

The civil engineering difficulties posed by the terrain had already frightened off several of our competitors from taking on the project but we welcomed the chance to put our design creativity to good use with an innovative solution which has made the hillside aspect a signature feature rather than a hindrance. A month-long programme of earthworks was required as we cut into the hillside, excavated several hundred tonnes of soil and waste and constructed a large retaining wall. This created space for the ambitious double-storey extension to the property, which has been transformed into an L-shape with another wing to the side and additional accommodation partly below ground level. The extension features traditional stone construction and additional oak structural beams to harmonise with the overall look and feel of the property.

Howard and Julia now have a very large main bedroom with en-suite wet room plus a new house bathroom to supplement the existing bedrooms. The couple enjoy relaxing in a hillside garden accessed via the new main bedroom through French doors which are mirrored below by similar doors leading from the living room out to a courtyard.

The Ashfield team worked closely with architect Mark Wogdon, an Architect with many years of planning, design and project management for residential, commercial and retail developments.

Howard commented the project:

“A friend recommended Ashfield Builders and the next thing I knew, Brendon was sitting in our kitchen, chatting over how best to excavate into the hill. The cottage is now much, much more interesting. It’s at least 60 percent bigger and one of the features we enjoy the most is a 40ft living room, two walls of which are below ground. There’s so much you can do with space like that!”