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Beautifully Designed Homes

In this regular series we take a look at some of the most beautifully designed homes and those that build them. In this article we take a look at Stonewood Builders for their incredible restoration of a medieval hall house.
Beautifully Designed Homes
Beautifully designed properties are a work of art. Still, they can only truly embrace this beauty when brought to life by expert craftsmen. Otherwise, that design is destined to remain on paper. It takes knowledge of the craft and precise ability to do the designs justice and deliver a fabulous result.
So, to shine a light on the master craftsmen who create these beautiful homes, we're looking at the biennial National Master Builder Award.
The National Master Builder Award celebrates the incredible achievements of Master Builders in the UK, showcasing high-quality craftsmanship, exceptional customer service and building excellence.
These awards highlight the significant contribution that small to medium-sized companies make to the UK construction industry. Looking at residential projects such as new builds and renovations, commercial developments and sustainable projects.
And the winner is…
The 2021 winner was Stonewood Builders for their incredible restoration of a medieval hall house.
The sensitive renovation of this Grade II-listed medieval hall house is a masterclass in how to revitalise a historic property that's fallen into disrepair.
This was a challenging restoration, with sections that date back to the 12th century. The builders demonstrated expert craftmanship and a skilful touch in preserving the Grade II Listed property's historical attributes while upgrading it to modern standards.
Once owned by Henry V's standard bearer at Agincourt, the property had suffered less-than-regal treatment during previous renovations in the 1970s and 80s. A significant part of the work involved stripping back these ugly modifications to reveal the building's true character. The team at Stonewood used specialist heritage practices and traditional skills such as lime plastering – rare skills amongst contemporary UK builders.
The team restored the Great Hall to its former glory by replacing the late mid-century stone staircase with a period-appropriate panelled oak staircase. A 16th-century stone fireplace was painstakingly restored and aged using natural yoghurt, which has a weathering effect on stone surfaces. A bespoke wrought iron candelabra was designed and built to be suspended from the ceiling on a winch.
In the master bedroom, the original supporting beams have been repaired, restored and sand-blasted to form a beautiful high ceiling above lime-washed stone walls and heritage oak flooring. A crucial step in this process was the addition of insulation between the rafters to keep the room warm. A gorgeous free-standing copper bath completes the space - perfect for a luxurious soak after a long day.
Whilst recovering the home's historical assets was a key priority, the clients wanted to modernise certain areas to allow for a 21st lifestyle. Therefore, careful attention was given to installing underfloor heating, modern plumbing and electrical work, fibre optic broadband, and additional communications technology without compromising the unique character and aesthetic.

The independent judges were very impressed and described the Tudor restoration and brickwork as "incredible". They loved the use of limecrete flooring and lime-washed stone, not to mention the fine detailing on display throughout the home. They also liked the "understated" glass extension added to the property. They thought that the Tudor restoration blends beautifully with modern conveniences, and they hailed the rare skills displayed by this builder to complete a renovation worthy of royalty.

"It is a beautiful, clever build, that has preserved a bit of history and created a comfortable home," says Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, the UK construction sector's largest trade association, which runs the awards. 'The range of skills and trades displayed, and the quality of the work and customer service was phenomenal.'
What a beautiful home filled to the brim with regal, medieval charm.

Do you have a home expertly crafted by a skilled tradesman? We'd love to hear about it on