Design | The White Hart - Renovating a Listed Building

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In the UK we are blessed with a number of heritage buildings, but sadly many of them are falling into disrepair. At Sims Hilditch we pride ourselves on our ability to take an old building and bring it back to life, just as we did with our Cotswold studio known as The White Hart.

Listed Building Renovation

The White Hart began life as a 16th-century pub, but despite its listed status it was in a derelict state when we acquired it in 2013. The works required were extensive; it needed gutting and a complete reimagination of the layout and spatial planning in order to bring it into the 21st century.

Left: The exterior of The White Hart in 2013.

The challenge for our design team was to create a contemporary studio rooted in traditional country style. It had to be fit for purpose without compromising the building's English heritage. Luckily, many of the pub's original features were still in tact like the beautiful wooden beams which support its pitched roof, and the Cotswold stone walls. We were careful to retain these features by sympathetically incorporating them into the design.

Below: (L) The White Hart before the renovation; (R) The exterior front porch at The White Hart which is painted in RAL Pebble Grey.

Our interiors are often inspired by nature, so the rolling fields and open skies surrounding the studio were a great source of inspiration for us, and called for a welcoming country aesthetic filled with natural light. We installed Crittall doors to allow privacy without compromising on this light, and the exposed beams and stone walls were retained in the kitchen to keep the building rooted in its country heritage.

Below: (L) The Crittall doors in our design studio are painted using RAL Traffic Grey; (R) The interior before renovations began.

We are known for our new English country style with a contemporary twist, and the way we styled the interior well reflects this. We paired contemporary pieces like a sharp-edged metal coffee table with more traditional furniture like the sideboards in our sitting room, and placed emphasis on natural materials and texture. We were careful not to select anything 'on trend' to ensure the design remains elegant and timeless.

Left: The coffee table in the sitting room is the Manhattan by Neptune, and the sideboards are by Chelsea Textiles.

An open plan layout further facilitates a welcoming interior, so we opted to install internal doors sparingly to create a sense of cohesion and flow from room to room and split the ground floor into dedicated zones for design work, meetings, eating and entertaining. This approach maintains a sense of structure without negatively impacting the overall aesthetic, making this a truly lovely environment in which to work.

Below: (L) The kitchen interior during construction; (R) The kitchen interior after construction (C) The sitting room at The White Hart is a mixture of contemporary country style, in keeping with the building's heritage.

Cotswold design studio interior