The British Homes Awards


At Westwell Manor Farm client Anthea Gibson wanted a home that retained the grandeur of the original stables. Architect Munkenbeck + Marshall’s solution was to insert two stairs, one on either side of the central space. This allowed the central volume to be kept open with clear views and a double height space. The client also wanted the upper levels of the house to be capable of being opened up to allow the parents’ bedroom to look over childrens’ bedrooms.

This was achieved by the use of two sets of ledged and braced oak shutters that fold out like flags above the dining area. The converted stables includes living and dining areas, bathrooms and four bedrooms. A former outhouse has been converted to create a consultant’s room with guest suite. Large expanses of glass allow distant views of the Oxfordshire countryside and direct views of the stepped garden and terrace.

Throughout the project the architect has used simple materials, including oak, Cotswold stone and glass. Doors and shutters are made from solid planks and braces. The floor is formed from engineered oak planks. The client wanted the project to conserve energy and limit energy use. The building is heavily insulated with 100 mm of rigid insulation cut into tiles and slipped between timber wall battens. High performance double glazing is used throughout.

Annual hot water demand for the property was calculated at 3150kWh and this capacity is more than met by solar panels on the roof of the side building. Annual heating demand was calculated at 24,000kWh and is met by a surface loop heat pump using night tariff electricity. The solar panel area is oversized to provide an element of pre-heating for the heat pump. Photovoltaic cells were initially proposed to provide the electrical supply for the heat pump.

This proposal was dropped as the owner plans to install a series of ‘proven’ propellers on a hill adjacent to the house to provide electricity. Water is drawn from a well drilled into the adjacent chalk land and all wastewater is filtered and cleaned. The house’s efficiency in use is expected to be monitored.


Munkenbeck + Marshall
Unit B North Building
Gainsborough Studios
1 Poole Street
N1 5EB
Tel: 020 7033 3130
Contact: Stephen Marshall


R &T Stacey
High Street
Tel: 01367 253 500
Contact: Tim Stacey