local builders Tanswell, Colbourne, Parfitt

Dad did the drawings, the electrics, the windows and the plumbing himself, the latter probably with Clifford’s help. But it is indeed true that local Stoke St Michael people were employed in the conversion.  I say this merely because I see that this is mentioned below with regard to the architect’s later work. However I wouldn’t have said that pouring a load of scalpings and concrete into the floors qualified as particularly eco-friendly ! But hey, that’s what ground works entail.

Derek Tanswell, father and son, both worked on the Old Chapel when Terry Plackitt was converting it, and then Mr Tanswell senior also worked on David’s barn conversion. By chance, Mr Tanswell the younger, now a local Mendip Councillor, re-visited the latter site recently. Phil Colborne did the roof repair work on the Old Chapel, probably with the help of Alan Parfitt, and these two then also came and did a massive re-roofing job on David’s site. I well remember Mr Parfitt’s killer one-word put-down for work that he didn’t rate …..”Part-timers” he would shake his head and say.

The link below appears now to be broken so I include the text that was on that site when I discovered it in Sept 2014. That’s 15 years after the architect’s business first started using the Old Chapel. I would assume (now) that he has been crediting himself with the conversion for the entire 15 years.


Title: The Old Chapel
Location: Somerset
Client: Private Residential Client
Sector: Residential + Office Conversion
Date: 2006
Known as the Old Chapel, in the rural Mendip village of Stoke St Michael in Somerset, the project involved the conversion, conservation and refurbishment of the existing Methodist Chapel and Sunday School into architect’s offices and family home. The work entailed the sensitive conversion of an existing chapel and, whilst it is not a Listed Building or in a Conservation Area, it is of historic significance to the local built environment. Traditional skills of local builders and craftsmen from the village were fully utilised. Additionally, the use of reclaimed materials uphold the environmental design. For example, carpenters have used their traditional crafts to reuse reclaimed Oak to create timber floors, stairs, windows and doors. The sustainable approach of reusing a redundant building makes a positive contribution to the built environment, with improved insulation, natural lighting and underfloor heating, giving a cost effective running solution. Internally the juxtaposition of open plan versus cellular space creates an exciting space to live and work, mixing traditional with contemporary, in a sensitive yet dynamic manner. An icon for our design ideas.


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