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Traditional Construction With A Modern Twist

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Traditional construction combined with 21st Century living is how best to describe a new development recently completed in central Cambridge by builder, Suffolk based, Cocksedge, and Serene Stone were delighted to be involved.

Located in the exclusive leafy De Freville suburb, adjacent to the historic city centre with the river Cam and open common land a few minutes’ walk away, four luxury 4-bedroom houses have been created on land where the former historic fleur de lys pub once stood.

Dating from 1899, the Fleur de lys closed in 2010 and demolished in 2012; the site is now home to The Villa’s, a brand-new development of family homes built in a Victorian style to complement the existing surroundings but with an ultra-modern twist.

Each dwelling features traditional Victorian stone bays, a glass and stone elevation to the rear, off street parking (unusual for this area), complete with a home automation system along with a huge basement home cinema.

One of the key features of each dwelling is the imposing stone bay window surround. As part of the De Freville conservation area, increased planning constraints were imposed by the local authority. The key one being that any new buildings must preserve or improve the character of the area.

Serene Stone were asked to manufacture and supply stonework that replicated the Victorian bay windows of the surrounding houses. Our Brief was to produce bespoke 2-storey decorative bay window surrounds, decorative arched heads, cills, coping and pier caps.

To comply with planning permission, it was critical that we fully matched the surrounding properties. This included matching the colour of the original building materials.

To achieve this, our sales team were supplied with architectural drawings and CGI impressions from which our CAD designers produced detailed drawings that were subsequently approved. Our skilled joinery department then hand crafted the moulds used to produce the stonework.

Acid Etched Wet Cast Bathstone was chosen as a stronger alternative to semi dry material. Serene Stone’s wetcast material is renowned for its strength and durability making it less prone to on-site damage. The use of wetcast stone also allows pieces to be cast in much bigger and longer sections, meaning less mortar joints and a cleaner overall look.

The location, Humberstone Road on the De Freville estate, has changed very little since its Victorian creation and the City Council were very clear that all new developments preserved or enhanced the conservation criteria. The developers had to ensure they met the stringent regulations before being granted planning permission.

Our design and production teams used their skills and expertise to take the architect’s concept, develop the idea into working construction details and produce the highest quality stonework, as well as meeting a tight deadline.

All stonework was supplied fully prepared to enable immediate crane lifting into place.

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