Built in 1720 and home to the Baring family, Ardington House is a beautiful Georgian mansion situated in Wantage, Oxfordshire.
The house has recently seen a restoration take place on key areas of the building, including the basement and kitchen, to return the building back to family use.
Throughout the year, Ardington House provides the perfect backdrop for weddings and this is something which is set to continue. However the work conducted on the project now provides the Baring family with a comfortable living space during the summer when events are taking place.
Describing the work, Charlotte Baring, said:
“We turned the upstairs kitchen into a family kitchen area, whilst downstairs we created a living and play space. Meanwhile, the basement benefited from some major work which included tanking the space to drastically improve this area of the building.
“The house sits on a large water course, so the work on the basement was not just initiated because this part of the building was a little damp; it was because the house sits on water and required attention!”
Work began on restoring Ardington House in January 2013 and reached completion in August. RMD Builders Ltd was the main contractor on the project, whilst RSA Architects provided all architectural services.
Adrian Barradell of RMD Builders Ltd was the site manager on the restoration of Ardington House. Discussing the transformation of the basement – a significant aspect of the project – he said:
“Before we started the basement had damp, there was no heating, and all the floor boards had rotted away. We stripped everything back, dug out the floor, concreted it and installed insulation and underfloor heating.
“The middle of the basement has a service trench for the pipework for the underfloor heating, with a two perforated pipes below this for drainage. This area of the building was in a particularly bad state and certainly needed attention so it is incredible to see it how it is now.”
“We did encounter a slight delay with the former apple room – now a bathroom and shower room – with some moving brick work which at first appeared quite problematic, but this was soon resolved. We got the structural engineer to take a look and he came up with a solution to rectify this issue and we were able to continue with the work as planned.”
The transformation of the previously unusable spaces within the building has been tremendous and has completely enhanced what Ardington House has to offer.
“It was quite frustrating having this amazing house and not being able to use it to its full potential. Now that work is complete on the project we have the freedom to use the building as a business and a home which is great. It was fascinating to see the transformation of the basement from a dank and quite frankly spooky space into a light and airy living area. It really has been an incredible transformation.”
Surrounded by magnificent gardens, Ardington House has a long history with the Baring family, who are best known for founding the famous Merchant Bank. Visitors to the house can see many pictures of the family, including those of Francis Baring, the founder of the bank, whilst rooms of the house are adorned with furniture from several different time periods.
Commenting on the project, Managing Director for RMD Builders Ltd, Dan Fisher, said:
“What a pleasure our selected team of tradesmen has had working on such a prestigious project. Our tradesmen’s skills have been thoroughly put through their paces and tested by our client’s wonderful eye for detail, specifically focusing on sympathetically restoring this wonderful Grade II Listed property.”
Founded in 1980, RSA Architects is one of the region’s leading architectural practices, restoring historically important buildings and putting them back into new economic use, along with the delivery of quality new buildings. RSA Architects were involved with the restoration of Ardington House from the project’s inception, through site survey, design, planning and listed building consent, to site supervision and completion.
Commenting on the project, Robert Tomlinson, RSA Architects, said:
“We enjoyed working together with RMD Builders Ltd and the Baring family on this project. It has been particularly important to us to play a part in the restoration and renovation of yet another building of such architectural and historic interest.”
With its fantastic furnishings and picturesque backdrop, Ardington House is the perfect venue for a country wedding and is also open to the public for six weeks each summer. The house opens for Bank holidays in April and May and is available for private tours upon request.
In addition, Ardington House is the ideal location for private events, ranging from a family celebration and dinner and dance, to a meeting within the house. The main rooms at the house can comfortably accommodate 150 standing guests or 56 seated guests, whilst parties of up to 200 can be catered for in the venue’s on-site marquee.
Catering at Ardington House benefit from the services of highly experienced Michelin starred chefs who can range a stunning array of dishes, from simple canapés and reception drinks to a full banquet. Each delicious dish is also backed by a tempting wine and champagne menu which is sure to make every celebration go with a bang!
For more information on Ardington House, or to enquire about hiring the house for weddings or private events, please visit: www.ardingtonhouse.com.