Project description

The walnut tree is a symbol of intelligence, wisdom, knowledge and inspiration. North Americans see the walnut as a symbol of clarity and focus, gathering of energy and beginning new projects. In fact the walnut even resembles a brain. It is no surprise therefore that the owners of Walnut Tree cottage made some extremely wise and inspirational decisions when it came to their beautiful new build cottage in South Lincolnshire.

When Kate and Leeson decided they needed a bigger home to accommodate their growing family, they were sure of one thing – they would be staying in Lincolnshire close to friends and family and the area they had strong links to. They were less sure about the types of properties available to them though.

“We didn’t start out thinking about a self build, we began looking at homes to buy, comparing prices and began to realise that our ideal home wasn’t available but we could build one for a similar price to those we had seen and have what we wanted,” said Kate.

Marathon Planning Session

Working with a family friend Josh, an architect from JC Architectural, the couple embarked on their journey to design and build the home of their dreams. Things didn’t go entirely to plan though, the plot the couple had chosen was initially refused planning permission. After a marathon session with the planning authority and some intense discussions, the plans were finally approved.

At last, they could go ahead with their build which was designed to be sensitive to the area and the heritage incorporating the traditional farmhouse cottage style so typical of the local scene. As they started researching materials and products for their new home, Kate and Leeson decided early on that they wanted to shop local wherever possible.

“Most of the suppliers we chose were from Lincolnshire, it was important to us to have great quality, local companies work with us to build our new forever home.”

A list of key considerations was used to assess potential suppliers including localilty, price, service, product specifics, quality and price. “We didn’t choose suppliers based on price solely, we decided we were prepared to pay more for high quality and that’s what we got from companies like George Barnsdale.”

We fell in love with our architect’s George Barnsdale windows..

Established in 1884 George Barnsdale still operates out of the same site in Donington, Lincolnshire. Kate and Leeson’s architect recommended the company for their bespoke timber windows and doors. “Our architect showed us some of his own Barnsdale windows and doors and we fell in love with them, Kate said.

Having spoken to staff at George Barnsdale, visiting the showroom and taking a tour of the factory, the couple made their minds up. They were particularly impressed with the level of customisation available, the quality of the products and the wide range of colours available. They also saw first hand the lengths the company goes to in order to ensure their products will last at least 60 years with minimal maintenance. The unique four stage paint process and features like the patented sash seal reassured the couple that there really was no need to look outside the area for timber windows and doors.

They placed an order for 18 timber flush casement windows with sash bars to enhance the cottage style, 4 spiral balance sliding sash windows, 3 doorsets including a stable door and two sets of outward opening french patio doors. Most of the items were finished in a beautiful soft oyster white and the front door is stained hardwood.

“Incorporating unique features like the glass etching on one of the doors and pointing out things like the potential fire hazard with one of the children’s rooms and offering solutions filled us with confidence. We found the whole team to be extremely knowledgeable and helpful,” commented Kate.

As with any selfbuild or renovation project, there is always a scary moment. As the builder started to install the doors and windows, Kate had a slight panic about the colour and styles she had chosen, worrying that everything wouldn’t match. The windows were super heavy and super big and she worried they would get damaged during the build, but her concerns quickly dissipated after installation. Describing the windows as “absolutely stunning and perfect,” the homeowners couldn’t have been more delighted.

Asked if they would recommend George Barnsdale to others the couple said “Definitely, we have had many people ask about our doors and windows and we always recommend them.”

Asked what they love about George Barnsdale “we loved the little touches like the tree sapling at Christmas, the relationship we built with the staff members over time, the value for money and help we received. We also love that it’s a local family run business that cares about the environment.”

NB Due to lockdown restrictions, we are unable to take professional photographs at present. All images kindly supplied by the homeowners.