New life for derelict croft buildings

Coldwells Building Company – based in Aberdeenshire, Scotland – transformed a tumbledown shambles of croft buildings into a stunning family home. The buildings included a 1860s granite cottage and a neighbouring byre with an added slate-clad extension from the 1970s. Coldwells improved these by constructing a modern timber and glass extension. The project won the Medium Renovation Project category at the Federation of Master Builders’ National Master Builder Awards, held online on 24 September.

The firm salvaged as many materials as they could from the existing and nearby sites, including rafters, slate and granite. For this, they were recognised by the awarding judges for overcoming the challenge of marrying old and new.

The 150-year-old property suffered from a lack of light and living space. But clever design and construction conquered those issues. Outstanding features of the renovation include openings being carved into the granite walls to provide space for expansive glazing to flood the property with light, built-in birch cabinetry and the creation of a large, open-plan living space by removing the cottage’s original floors.

Coldwells had to deal with drainage problems, uneven flooring and even woodworm while renovating the property, but managed to complete the project on time and to budget, so that their clients could celebrate their first Christmas as a family of four in their new home. Ross Booth, Coldwells’ director, said: “This project was a huge team effort and thanks goes to our supremely talented employees, subcontractors, architect partners and wonderful clients who poured their heart and soul into it.

“This is one of the first major awards we have won, and as a small family business, it certainly means a lot to us. The trophy will take pride of place on the shelf. We are thrilled and honoured to have been recognised by the Federation of Master Builders, and we are grateful to the award sponsors for making it happen.”

Caroline Grumble, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Building, and national judge for the Medium Renovation Project category, said: “This project had the edge because of the good use of the glass and timber, the old and the new, coming together so sympathetically for the environment in which it was delivered.” Discover more about the 2021 Federation of Master Builders’ National Master Builder Awards online, here.