Old Barnstaple House, Chittlehampton

Working alongside English Heritage, Alan & Sarah Tierney sourced our Heritage Oak flooring for their historic grade II listed country home.

Tucked away in the rolling hills of North Devon lies the quaint bustling village of Chittlehampton. Only a stones throw from our workshop, Alan and Sarah Tierney sourced our Heritage Oak flooring for their historic home on East Street. Moving from the Buckinghamshire / Oxfordshire borders in 2019, they bought Old Barnstaple House in the village and have been sympathetically renovating it since. A grade II* listed property, they have worked alongside English Heritage to find solutions to problems and create an outstanding country home here in the South West. We visited one evening for supper and had a grand tour around the country home.

The layers of history behind a period property was one of the influencing factors on their purchase of Old Barnstaple House. Alan Tierney is a historic building consultant and conservation specialist, and as he invites you into their home, you can see his knowledge through the detail of each design decision. You enter into the hallway, where the couple decided to build a plank and muntin screen. Made traditionally using green oak, rather than dry, Alan goes on to show us how little the boards have moved. We provided fresh sawn Grade A Oak to the couple for this particular piece, making sure the boards were quarter sawn to reduce future movement. Tom had discussed the design in great length with Alan and handpicked trees to suit. With the skills of local carpenter Simon Scoins, the plank and muntin screen nows takes centre place in the home.

Opposite this gorgeous screen is the staircase, which proved to be one of the more difficult design features of the house when planning. The current staircase was particularly dangerous, with differing heights of treads and risers and had led to part of the house being left abandoned prior to the sale. Rather than renovate a particularly precarious staircase of difficult shape and direction, the couple chose to build a new staircase using cob and oak. In agreement with the conservation officer, the old staircase has been kept intact as part of the ‘under the stairs cupboard’ and a new one built using cuts of oak along with cob for this magical stairway.

Working your way up the chunky wooden stairs, our Heritage Oak has been used in both the bedroom and the bathroom, with different finishes on the flooring in each.

The bedroom is a capsule of cosiness with unique artwork collected from the couples travels to places such as Sri Lanka and Butan. The Heritage Oak flooring glides underfoot giving a warm tone to the room’s decor. When standing on it, you really do believe it’s been there for hundreds of years as it fits so seamlessly in with the character of the house.

wooden bedroom floor

Moving into the bathroom, the couple have used a darker wax finish on the floor to give character and earthiness to this smaller space. The bathroom is relaxing, where again, as in the bedroom, the floor feels as though it has been part of the home for decades. Alan and Sarah have made conscious decisions throughout the house to favour the existing heritage. They’ve carried out clever building works, and researched their materials before beginning. They have understood as much of the home’s history as possible before planning a particular space, and you can tell- just by looking at it.

Downstairs we have a tour of the sitting room and garden room before moving into the kitchen for a delicious supper. Alan and Sarah tell their stories or accidentally getting enrolled in a game of elephant polo, among other travel anecdotes. Their travels and stories are shown through the house in textiles and decoration on the walls – it’s most definitely a house that is loved.

It’s dark outside, so we believe them when they say the view is incredible. The kitchen looks out across the entire garden, where at the bottom of it Lime Trees grow. Some of the trees came down in a recent storm, and so the Tierney’s have decided to use the wood, getting it planked up to use for small cladding projects through their house. A local team of Shire horses were needed to come and drag the trees from the bottom of the garden. It’s quite a magical story.

If houses could talk, this one would definitely thank the Tierney’s for such a sympathetic and knowledgeable restoration.

We came here initially on a very strong recommendation. It's beautiful to know where the timber has come from and its story.
Tierney family, Chittlehampton

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Coppice-and-Crown-Heritage Oak

Heritage Oak

Our signature Oak flooring, honey and pale straw tones. Feels glossy, silky and warm to the touch.

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