Tips on creating space at home for all generations

PUBLISHED: 12:18 17 October 2014 | UPDATED: 12:18 17 October 2014

At the centre of the family: an additional room often becomes the spot where people spend most time!

At the centre of the family: an additional room often becomes the spot where people spend most time!


How do you keep everyone happy when a property may be home to as many as four generations, all with their own, sometimes conflicting, interests?

Changing family lifestyles have definitely had a big effect on how people view their home – and what they want to do with the property.

In the 20 years that Hartwood Oak Buildings Ltd of Hatt Common, Newbury, has been in business the types of construction they’ve been involved with has reflected these trends. Not everyone wants to move home as their family grows. Many children are staying with parents for longer, and care costs mean that some families have expanded as generations consolidate their assets and share the same living space.

One result has been a boom in additions to homes, both attached and in the grounds, as more space is sought. Many people have been looking for alternatives to conventional building methods. One exciting choice comes with traditional oak timber framing and one of the best exponents of the art is the team at Hartwood. The variety and scale of their portfolio is already broad but is always expanding as new projects are presented to them and boundaries are stretched.

As Tim Green of Hartwood Oak Buildings explains: “We all need time to ourselves, and what better way to achieve this than with an oak extension or a building in the garden? The uses to which such a space can be put are infinite and the company has created buildings as studios, granny flats, gyms, party barns and simple teenage hang outs. Oak frames are difficult to pigeon hole in their look, and by listening to the client and with clever design are able to be beautiful, smart, traditional, cool or rustic as desired.

“One recent commission was for a large barn that was to be both a weekend space for the owners and their family but also available for hire specifically as a venue for ‘bake off’ style group cookery classes. Another was for a ‘rumpus room’ for growing and (sometimes) noisy youngsters with drum kits and electric guitars!”

Glazing is a prominent feature of much of their output and walls can be glazed to a varying degree, depending upon desired views and light requirements. Roofs are generally solid being covered in a variety of materials from clay peg tiles and slates to lead sheet. Fully insulated floors, walls and roofs mean that they do not overheat during the hotter months and are perfectly snug for winter evenings, really coming into their own at Christmas time when everyone gets together. One thing the team at Hartwood report is that without exception after a few weeks clients say something along the lines of “We love the new room so much, we practically live in it”.

Find out more at, tel 01635 253534.


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