Georgian Country House Etons of Bath

In conversation with: CMS Architects on all things Georgian design

Paul Coleman, Founder of CMS

We talked to Paul Coleman, founder of CMS Group, about their work on Georgian architecture in Bath and beyond over the last 30 years. CMS Group are a practice of architects and quantity surveyors based in Corsham near Bath and have been helping renovate Georgian properties since 1988.

What’s your favourite Georgian building that CMS have worked on and why?

CMS have worked on a good number of Heritage projects, the majority of which are Georgian properties, perhaps the one project that really stands out in terms of the rich heritage potential that needed to be unlocked and the intensive scale of development that was required to achieve that, was a large private residence in the Cotswolds. The client purchased the property following its use as a school for a number of years and was in a severe state of disrepair and in need of comprehensive modernisation. 

What made this project work so well was the symbiotic approach of both the client, who was keen to return the property to its former splendour and a consultant team with a considerable amount of heritage experience to help him realise that dream. 

Georgian Country Estate Etons of Bath
Large country estate which CMS renovated

When you work on Georgian or heritage buildings, what are the particular challenges?

With any heritage project, the first challenge is marrying the client’s brief with the specific wants and needs of the asset itself. As an example, although rare, some clients do not fully appreciate the responsibilities placed on them as owners of a heritage asset, it could be said that they are in reality simply caring for the building for future generations.

This can often lead to particular challenges in respect of delivering a successful project that addresses the clients brief whilst respecting the heritage value of the project. 

As architects who work on listed buildings, what’s your approach when trying to modernise and refurbish them within listed constraints?

Many listed properties often require significant modernisation that is, heating, plumbing, electrics, which is over and above what would be ‘conservation’ work in terms of the fabric of the building. The key priority with introducing new services and technologies is to ensure they are implemented as sympathetically as possible, whilst still performing their functions and also minimising loss of any historic fabric.

What’s the best feature you’ve designed within a Georgian property and why?

One of the more unique features we have been able to incorporate into a Grade II listed mid-terrace house in Chelsea was a three storey living wall feature. We linked an original rear courtyard and basement (formed beneath the entire property). The additional accommodation has been designed to work seamlessly with the original layout without compromising any of the heritage character of the property. 

For further information and advice on your Georgian property in the first instance, contact Etons of Bathor CMS on 01249 701333

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Etons of Bath, 108 Walcot Street, Bath BA1 5BG 01225 639002