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Contemporary restoration of a Grade II Listed Manor House in Oxfordshire

We take a look inside Manor Cottage, the home of Ben Mailen of Mailen Design, who used a selection of Domus ranges to modernise his Oxfordshire farmhouse.

Originally dating back to 1672, the oak timber frame property had suffered from years of poorly chosen modifications and the use of inappropriate materials.

The modernisation stripped the house back to the structural core before sensitively repairing the timber frame and masonry. Natural materials were used to improve the lime mortar and provide insulation through eco-friendly breathable wood fibre panels before re-introducing natural lime render to the exterior.

The interior design has a contemporary feel but with a subtlety that allows the previously hidden historic natural materials to come to the forefront. The predominant colour palette is grey and monochrome, with natural wood features such as doors, furniture and floors, which add warmth and compliment the original exposed timber frame, visible across many of the ceilings and walls.

Engineered wood in cool tones balances rustic features & modern design

The property includes over 65 SQM of Domus’ sustainably certified engineered wood flooring, which runs throughout the entire downstairs area, including the kitchen, hallway, living room and dining room. The long, wide planks introduce a calm elegance and soft, understated warmth to the rooms.

"We wanted to create an intentionally calm interior palette, which allowed the original historic features to stand proud", says Ben. The choice of Domus Wood 192, in a custom cool ash colour, perfectly balances the authentic rustic features of the house whilst complementing the modern design choices. Ben tells us, "...we needed good quality robust materials which not only worked with the historic timber frame which is constantly moving but with a raw natural aesthetic that rested sensitively with the historic features." This exclusive range of Engineered Wood utilises European Oak harvested from responsibly managed forests and is designed, manufactured and finished with the highest quality and performance in mind.

Monochrome bathroom with neutral, textured tiles

Continuing the monochrome colour palette in one of the bathrooms, Domus’ Petrology Stone 8 porcelain stone tiles in black sit alongside Dechirer La Suite Net tiles in white.

Petrology Stone 8 is a highly textured tile in a matt finish that replicates the appearance of a natural slate. This design sits within a recess behind the sink and has been fabricated into a shelf for the sink itself. This is used next to Dechirer La Suite Net, a delicate relief patterned tile designed by Patricia Urquiola for Mutina. Displaying an abstract geometric design set into the tile's surface, Dechirer La Suite Net is a subtle yet striking design that is further enhanced next to the dark colour and heavy texture of Petrology Stone 8.

The Domus team advise on using large format tiles in small spaces

When asked how our residential team had helped to solve any design challenges, Ben told us, "Domus were instrumental in advising on the fabrication and installation...for the use of large format tiles in challenging tight situations". He wanted to create monolithic areas of material without having to use solid stone or marble. The Domus team helped to provide options that didn't necessarily appear like tiles and gave a substantial geological effect.

Ben's choice for a small en-suite bathroom, the lightweight slab of Ardoise Magnum (2397 x 1197 x 6mm), is a perfect example of the monolithic look offered by large formats in tight spaces. A beautiful and highly detailed porcelain replica of slate, Ardoise Magnum is an accessible and reliable alternative to a natural stone slab with the same visual impact and better durability.

"I recommend consulting with Domus... as they may help you find a better, more cost-effective product through careful fabrication and installation advice."

– Ben Mailen

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