Go inside this stunning contemporary extension on a 17th-century building

A contemporary extension gives historic ruins new life thanks to bold design by Will Gamble Architects

A contemporary extension that preserves the unique history of the former factory
A contemporary extension that preserves the unique history of the former factory
(Image credit: Johan Dehlin)

This stunning contemporary extension could have easily looked very different. When Will Gamble Architects took on The Parchment Works, a project in Northamptonshire which includes the ruins of a 17th-century parchment paper factory, the owners asked for the Victorian cottage and old cattle shed to be converted, but to demolish the adjacent ruins. 

Instead, Will Gamble and his team created a breathtaking design which links all three buildings, incorporating the remnants of the factory to preserve the history of the site and deliver an open and unique home. Check out more beautiful modern homes.

Johan Dehlin

The side view of the extension reveals a large picture window into the dining area

(Image credit: Johan Dehlin)

The bold glass and a Corten-steel box extension to the listed Victorian cottage introduces an open-plan kitchen, living and dining area, which sit snugly within the ruin’s walls. It links to the cattle shed, which now features a main bedroom and ensuite.

Will Gamble Architects

(Image credit: Josh Dehlin)

Timber joists and the ruin's masonry walls are visible throughout the extension. The elegant, contemporary kitchen was designed with the watchword 'minimalism' to ensure it would not detract from the striking original features.

johan_dehlin

(Image credit: johan_dehlin)

Light floods in to the kitchen-dining area through the full-height glass of the extension. Simple and natural materials are used throughout – including white-washed oak floorboards with a chunky concrete skirting.

johan_dehlin

(Image credit: Johan Dehlin)

An archaeologist oversaw every step of this project due to planning regulations, and wherever possible materials were repurposed. Salvaged local bricks form the walls of the extension, while stone slabs from the floor of the old parchment factory line the base of the courtyard.

Johan Dehlin

(Image credit: johan Dehlin)

"The whole concept was not to cover anything up,’ says Will. "Even where old rusty nails were set in the walls, we didn’t want to take them out. It was a very honest project – we just made the most of the materials that were around us."

Have a look at this design project which transforms a former agricultural shed into a modern home with double height library.