HISTORIC HOUSE, DEVON
Completed: Spring 2017
“The restoration focused on the preservation of key historic features, where necessary unpicking insensitive 20th century additions. Where historic elements survived, they have been carefully preserved and their context improved.”
Portledge Manor is a grade 2* listed house with 12th century origins, located on the north Devon coast. After decades of steady decline caused by its aggressive coastal location and a damaging post-war conversion into a hotel, the Manor house and grounds have undergone an extensive two-and-a-half-year programme of conservation, restoration and renewal, returning the 3000 sq.m property to a family home.
When Portledge Manor changed ownership in 2013 its condition presented an almost unique opportunity to combine the conservation of an important historic building with modern refurbishment techniques. The restoration focused on the preservation of key historic features, where necessary unpicking insensitive 20th century additions. Where historic elements survived, they have been carefully preserved and their context improved. When rooms were severely compromised by previous insensitive or poorly executed changes, they have been remodelled in complementary but entirely modern styles to reflect what is the latest in a series of major rebuild and restoration phases undertaken over the 900 year lifespan of the house.
Among other works, a new indoor swimming pool has been added to the range of existing buildings at Portledge. The organic design is derived entirely from its location and relationship with its host building. The swept copper roof reflects the gentle slope of the land it occupies as it rises steadily to the house before bowing subserviently to the historic building. Beneath the roof is a free flowing and frameless sweep of glass above an undulating wall of cedar shingle. A concave curved wall at the front of pool building is clad with cooper oak leaves.