A Tale of Two Homes - Heydon, Cambridgeshire

A Tale of Two Homes – Heydon, Cambridgeshire

Sun 17 Sep 2023, – Sat 23 Sep 2023, Various

Two homes, two neighbours with a shared love of location and environmental goals, work together to turn their historical buildings into comfortable and beautiful homes fit for the 21st Century. Meet our hosts who will conduct a tour of each property back to back in one unique opportunity.

Modern Living in a Victorian Stable Block

Meet your hosts, Steve and Angela

See how Steve and Angela worked with their neighbours Fay and John to refurbish a Victorian stable conversion into a comfortable, and sustainable oasis for their retirement. This smart and sympathetically designed home includes solar PV ‘slates’, made to look like slate, comprehensive insulation that works with the fabric of the building and cleverly designed home heating including an air source heat pump and liquid underfloor heating. Their research and use of resources has meant they have been able to conserve the integrity of this historic building whilst creating a 21st century home with an EPC B rating – only just missing an A rating.

Steve says: “As a graduate in Ecology and Botany, aware of the drivers in climate change long before such a title was invented, and wanting to do such a project for many years. We (my wife Angela and I) looked for an opportunity for customising a single story home by renovation, and surprisingly stumbled across one in our home village We worked closely with the seller of an old stable block to design and build our ideal home and this is it; a comfortable, accessible, efficient, sustainable, retirement home in keeping with local architecture and built form.”

Download 2-page PDF case study with details and links.

Key Features of this home

  • Breathable Icynene foam insulation throughout on external walls and roof
  • New double glazed windows fitted with exclusion tape to window frames
  • Air Source Heat Pump and liquid underfloor heating
  • Clever design Solar PV imitation ‘slates’
  • Solar Thermal water heating
  • Storage battery
  • Roof rainwater collection system

15th to 21st Century Farmhouse

Meet your hosts, Fay and John

Fay and John have been carefully renovating their 15th century farmhouse since 1994, adapting it for their growing family whilst carefully restoring the historic features. See how they have taken their journey further to embrace the 21st century. Through extensive research, planning and resourcing, they have improved the insulation of their home, replacing the conservatory with a garden room, and installed in-roof solar PV and home batteries (both to store solar and in winter to download cheap overnight electricity) to drastically reduce their electricity consumption and fulfil environmental goals

Key Features of this home

  • 12 in-roof solar panels on new-build garage
  • 4 x 2.4kWh batteries
  • Conservatory replaced with garden room insulated with Icynene breathable foam keeping the room at 25C when it was 40C outside
  • Replaced the last single glazed windows with double glazed, fitted using insulating expanding foam tape
  • Insulating tape on leaky old double glazed windows and French doors
  •  HIVE system oil central heating
  • Reflective panels behind radiators and thermostats on all radiators

Download PDF case study with details and links.

Tour details

1.5 hour in-person tour, running:

  • Sun 17th Sept,11:00 am, 1:30 pm, 3:30 pm
  • Sat 23 Sept, 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, 3:30 pm

This is an in-person tour. Location details will be sent in a confirmation email upon booking. Tour spaces are very limited. Babes in arms and young people (14+) are welcome.

Book an in-person tour on 17 Sept

Book an in-person tour on 23 Sept

Our hosts top tips 

  • Research, research, research!
  • Project manage and purchase materials yourself (if you can) as renovating old houses can throw up the unexpected – this keeps you in control of the quality and finish and makes good use of your research.
  • Take the opportunity to make eco-improvements on any building work you plan to undertake.
  •  Insulate first… and again and again.
  • Work to remove draughts.
  • Get some visible monitoring in order to create consumption awareness.


Return to the full programme


Thanks to our 2023 Open Eco Homes funders and supporters


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