Thorpe Lodge

Edwardian Building and Landscaping Restoration, London

This is a different type of project. Thorpe Lodge is a grade 2 listed building and we were required to ‘restore’ the grounds and historic Loggia to its former glory. We are more in favour of a conservation and repair approach than restoration, the word restoration can lead to problems: builders ripping out unnecessary clues to the history of the build, covering over important artefacts and generally not understanding how things should be done. We favour – along with the Society of the Protection of Ancient Buildings - keeping parts of a building unless absolutely necessary to remove them due to rot, decay or structural failure, that way an enthusiast can identify clues to the past. We kept this ethos throughout.

The first major issue to approach was the Norfolk Pamment terrace, Norfolk Pamments are a 1ft square Terracotta tile from Norfolk, they had cracked, ruptured and lost any sort of flat surface, this was due to lack of a sub base, so we carefully picked them up and set them aside for later in the project. Next we laid down 100mm of crush concrete and compacted, ready for the new Pamments to be laid.

The next major issue was the Loggia, a timber frame building that was used in the past for evening meals and relaxation. Due to graffiti on the black and white tile surround and the Teak frame itself it had been painted some decades ago to cover up the dawbings. We set about removing the black paint to reveal the gorgeous Teak below, this was an arduous and messy task. The roof had perished so we removed it along with the sarking boards. We replaced the boards with the beautiful and long lasting Western Red Cedar to great effect. The flat roof was then laid and waterproof completed.

There were various other works that took place including laying Sandstone walling with Lime, a Yorkstone path with Granite details, pergola repair, brick edging and path, replacement of Hopton Wood steps and seat and a huge amount of cleaning and repointing.

Nearing the end of the project the time had come to relay the 170msq of Norfolk Pamments, we were keen to reuse the old Pamments but as over half were damged it would have meant mixing up the old and new ones, as they were different sizes and depths it wasn’t feasible. So we decided upon new Pamments, our project manager sought a traditional supplier that hand made them in the traditional way. They are an interesting thing to lay, irregular in shape and size but look great once you have worked out a system. It took over two weeks to lay the 1500 Pamments and once finished we sealed them from the weather and pointed in cement mixed with sharp sand to keep the moisture out. The soft landscapers then came in and completed all the planting which left it looking fantastic.