Wretched Excess Goes Heritage: 1848 Pump House Converted Into Monster Home

Steve Mouzon has noted that old buildings are lovable, durable, flexible and frugal. Then there are buildings like this conversion of an 1848 pumping station in Ilkley, north of Leeds in the UK, that is sort of lovable, definitely durable and flexible, but it sure ain't frugal.

In fact, it is an upside down monster home behind the old walls of the pump house, with the living spaces on the top floor, where it can get natural light from the skylights. It has a sort of James Bond lair feel to it, which the estate agent picks up on in his descriptions:

Built in 1848, The Pump House is the former water pumping station which has been exquisitely remodelled to create an über contemporary dwelling which is beyond compare. The solid oak staircase leads you up to the top deck offering the ultimate in open plan living along with the parapet balcony, a great place to unwind with a Vodka Martini perhaps!

Indeed. And you can mix that martini in the vast kitchen at one end,

Or open a restaurant, it appears to have four ovens!

It is a challenge, converting a building like this. The designers have made the decision to put the living at the top floor, which is a real schlep to carry the groceries. So they appear to have installed an elevator in the garage, a "dual hydraulic German engineered garage lift system" that takes the car up to the second floor. I would have thought a regular elevator would have made more sense.

The lower level is a home theatre, and the agent does go on about about how:

the property is simply bursting with state-of-the art technology including overhead speakers to all rooms with LAN points, infrared high security cameras and intercom system with electric gates... This is a property James Bond would be proud of .

It is interesting that it only gets a C for its environmental impact rating, which must take into account the operating impact and ignore the embodied energy of the existing pump house, the thermal mass of those amazing stone walls. I would have thought that just about any conversion of an existing building would get points for that.

Perhaps the lesson in this exercise is that not every conversion is necessarily green and sustainable, and that even the adaptive reuse of an 1848 building can end up being a monster home in the country. More at Hunters Estate Agent via HomeDsgn

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