by Architekturatelier Biermann

How to buy and renovate a village ruin

Genista Jurgens Genista Jurgens
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To have a home in the countryside to spend the holidays or long weekends in is a dream most of us have. And to be able to renovate or restore an old property into something modern and livable is even better. But to do that takes a lot of expert knowledge and know-how. 

It isn't purely about buying a piece of land with an existing structure on it and get stuck in, you have to judge the condition the house is in to see if it's actually worth while restoring it. If most of the walls and roof have deteriorated too much, then there may not be any point in rebuilding—you might as well start from scratch. 

But with this particular home, the architects at ARCHITEKTURATELIER BIERMANN saw the potential to work with the original foundations, maintaining the character and integrity of the building. By repairing the thatched roof, tidying up the brickwork, laying new cement and underfloor heating, they were able to transform this village ruin into a charming, livable house that anyone would love to spend their holidays in. Let's take a closer look at exactly how they did it. 

Step by step.

Once the team decided to go ahead with this renovation, they started to strip back the existing roof, but not without having to think about weather protection. 

Having large, waterproof plastic sheets are essential to minimize the amount of work to be done—no one wants to have to dry the interior before they even start the job! 

A breath of fresh air.

If the building you are renovating has been uninhabited for some time, it's best to open all windows and doors possible to get some fresh air circulating around and to dry any mold that may have developed inside. 

Bird and wasp nests are also often found in these old country homes, so make sure you clean out those rafters as well! 

Laying the foundations.

  by Architekturatelier Biermann
Architekturatelier Biermann

Schornsteinkopf und Lattung für das neue Reetdach

Architekturatelier Biermann

To be able to complete the new roof, the chimney was repaired and strengthened and wooden latticework was laid down to support the reeds which would be placed on top. 

Additional support is extra important for any old structure like this one—it pays not to skimp on this step. 

Warming the soles of your feet.

In any old building, one of the most important things to think about is insulation. Usually the walls are too thin, doors and windows too drafty, and you can absolutely forget about the idea of underfloor heating. 

So with this restoration, the architects made sure this issue was addressed, leaving the homeowners with toasty soles right through the winter months. 

Tidying up loose ends.

Once all of heating pipes were laid, the interior walls restored and tidily finished, the plumbing checked and repaired, the ground was leveled out with a thick layer of cement poured over the top, tidying up everything underneath. 

The last piece of the puzzle.

As one of the final steps to this extensive restoration, the brickwork is tidied up and completed around the brand new windows, ensuring no amount of wind would get through into the rooms inside. 

Brown bricks are also used on the patio area encircling the house, leaving enough room for a quaint garden leading to the fields beyond.  

A wolf in sheep's clothing.

Despite the old fashioned look of this country cottage on the outside, the interior is fitted out with nothing but the newest accessories and styled like any modern apartment. 

The kitchen is kept open plan, with walls painted white and working surfaces finished in a sleek gray.  

Making the old new again.

Once the project is completed, the house looks like a bonafide fairytale home. The surrounding paving is all laid and edged with stones cemented around the base of the home. 

A large driveway has also been paved making this not only a pretty property, but also a practical one. What a dream come true!  

And here's another perfectly idyllic country home that will have you dreaming of long weekends away

What's your dream holiday home like? Describe it below. 
modern Houses by Casas inHAUS

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