Marles Farm was purchased in 2014 by Katie and Sebastian King. It had been empty for over 2 years, was very overgrown and the fabric of the building was in desperate need of care before falling into further disrepair.
The farm consists of an extensive renovation of a 200-year old farmhouse, brought up to modern standards of insulation, humidity control and comfort; re-built stables and dairy buildings converted into another house; and a renovated traditional barn.
Both houses now share a private water supply, filtered and treated from the onsite well; and a 25kW wood pellet boiler, fed from an automatic system in the barn.
The old farmhouse has been restored by local craftsmen using traditional materials and techniques but also updated with modern insulation, underfloor heating and wood pellet boiler. The walls were hacked back to the stone, removing previous attempts at damp proofing, and clad on the interior with a plastic sheet, 100 mm Celotex and insulated plasterboard, while retaining the traditional feel of the house. The double-glazed windows are made with sustainable sapele wood and were made in Yeovil.
The milking barn and stables were not economical to convert using their existing walls because of very unstable structures. So this provided the opportunity to build new on the same footprint to very high insulation standards. The walls consist of two thermalite blocks with 75mm Celotex insulation plus insulated plasterboard. The triple-glazed windows have Aluminium exteriors and wood inside, manufactured by Rationel and fitted by a local company. The floors have 100mm Celotex insulation and underfloor heating (barely needed). The roof is insulated with 170mm Celotex in the vaulted spaces and with 400mm rockwool above flat ceilings. Lighting is with LEDs throughout both buildings. The walls are clad in cedar grown near Sherborne, and milled in Eype.
The owners have gained a wealth of experience of sensitive renovation techniques, and also how to deal with officialdom in this AONB, during their journey. They have been very keen to employ local companies in their building and renovation project wherever possible. The builder will be available at the open day to provide further information. They have also brought their own expertise to bear on their home. Katie is an environmental consultant and has been very engaged in optimising energy efficiency. Sebastian’s interest is in communication technology, and so various parameters of the PV panels, hot water and the wood pellet boiler are connected to the internet, allowing remote monitoring.
• A Shepherds Hut, constructed by Dicky Dean, originally from Pymore, fully insulated with a wood-burner
• 2000l rainwater capture, destined for the planned polytunnel
• Waste water treatment plant with soakaway.
Marles Farm is available for holiday lets. See www.marles-farm.co.uk