Difficult renovation projects are often described as a labour of love, but Ashfield see them more as a labour of pride. For us, it’s about professional satisfaction in a job well done and our ability to rise to the challenge of the most complex brief. A perfect example is currently taking shape at Ashburn House in Ilkley, where Ashfield are overseeing a comprehensive remodelling and refurbishment of an elegant Victorian building to create a beautiful range of contemporary luxury apartments on behalf of SRL Developments Ltd.
Designed by nj-ARCHITECTS, the development concept at Ashburn House presents technical demands that would make many other contractors wake up in a cold sweat. To describe the building as having a facelift would be something of an understatement. It’s more accurate to describe it as a face-shift, with the existing entrance porch deconstructed and reconstructed to the north-facing elevation, creating more space at the access point of the site. We are doing something similar with some of the original windows, moving them from the west elevation to the north elevation to enable residents to maximise the location’s best views, gazing down the valley towards Ilkley town centre.
The porch represents a particularly intricate task. Having dismantled it stone-by-stone, we have set aside the individual pieces, ready to rebuild at a later stage of the development. Currently resting on an area of grass, they resemble a carefully arranged discovery raised from an archaeological dig, but we will soon be restoring the structure to its former glory, painstakingly rebuilt in its exact original formation.
Keeping that historic character is a key objective of the project brief at Ashburn House. Other features will be retained and restored, including doorways, stair balustrade and fire surrounds.
A complementary facet of the brief is the incorporation of modern design, specification and performance to meet the standards set out by the latest Building Regulations.
The blend of contemporary and character is encapsulated in the top-floor apartments, where original pointed arch windows are featured alongside newly installed Velux windows, generously sized to bathe the interiors in natural light.
The interior work has now progressed to include the construction of internal wall structures, demarcating the spacious open-plan layouts of the apartments. The properties are configured to provide functional versatility and easy-to-manage living. We have fitted insulation boards, the first of various features which will help to maximise energy efficiency. Work has also started on the construction of suspended ceilings to meet the acoustic requirements of apartment living.
A later phase will substantially increase the size of the property with a multi-storey extension to one elevation which Ashfield will build in a style that replicates the overall aesthetic of the Victorian design. Ashfield are also extending the space vertically with an additional floor to another section of the building. The roofing structure is also being remodelled in keeping with the new shape of the property. It will be treated to a sensitive refurbishment and upgrade which will retain Ashburn House’s original architectural style.
There is plenty of work to be done, but a view of the interiors already brings a tantalising sense of how the finished article will look and feel. It is a formidable journey to navigate, but the end destination promises to be something genuinely special: bespoke apartments providing a stunning combination of authentic period charm and luxurious contemporary living, set within secluded grounds in one of Ilkley’s premier residential locations.
We’re sure that Ashburn House’s completion will reinforce a view that Ashfield have held for many years: the greater the challenge, the greater the sense of achievement when the rewards come to fruition.