Restoring a country house to its former glory

"We approached Gale & Snowden as we were looking for a local architect, with eco credentials, who would do justice to our Grade II listed building. We were fortunate enough to find exactly what we were looking for on our doorstep in Bideford. The Gale & Snowden team were both professional and pleasant, and quickly understood the standards we were working towards. Their innovative approach to creating en-suites for all the 11 bedrooms, whilst maintaining the architectural integrity and space of the rooms was particularly impressive, and the in-room 'pods' have been remarked on frequently since completion. We also adopted as many of their energy-saving suggestions as is practicable in a building of this age (including the installation of a wood-pellet boiler) and hope to reap the benefits (environmental, practical and financial) over the forthcoming years."

Hannah Evans, Hallsannery

Perched high on the hill one mile from ‘the little white town’ of Bideford, and within 5 miles of the rugged beauty of the North Devon coast, Hallsannery is a late-Regency period, Grade II Listed manor house.


Having been used for years as a field studies centre and offices, the once grand, formal rooms were a maze of cellular office spaces, subdivided by partition walls and labyrinthine corridors.


Handed down within the same family, the new owners approached Gale & Snowden Architects with a brief to restore and celebrate Hallsannery’s former grandeur, establishing a venue for weddings, holidays, corporate meetings and events.


Gale & Snowden’s approach was to juxtapose the very best of the old with the best of the new: sympathetically revealing the original volumes of the rooms and diligently conserving historic features and details - plaster covings, original fireplaces, period joinery, built-in furnishings, a central sweeping staircase and its glazed lantern - whilst rationalising the flow of internal circulation and skillfully introducing modern luxuries such as en-suite bathrooms to every bedroom - sometimes realised as discreet, self-contained ‘pods’ nestled within the largest of the rooms.


A new, large family kitchen designed for relaxed, communal dining now sits at the heart of the house replacing the former commercial kitchen which once served the field studies centre. 


Gale & Snowden carried out a low-energy feasibility study and the proposals incorporated a number of measures to help increase internal comfort and the building’s energy efficiency including:

  • Sealing up unused chimneys dramatically reducing air infiltration
  • Refurbishing and draught-proofing the existing timber sash windows
  • Replacing the huge oil-fired boiler with a wood pellet boiler system
  • Heating and hot water modifications and design
  • Inclusion of insulation to the ground floor construction


Over the last 20 years, Gale & Snowden Architects have been involved with numerous projects involving the restoration, renovation and conservation of historic and Listed buildings.  We continue to research and develop innovative ways to improve the energy efficiency of our historic buildings to ensure that they continue to provide healthy environments for us to occupy into the future.




RCH Wilson





All photographs by Jon at Indigo Perspective