Mansion House, Conwy

Mansion House in Conwy sits quite unassumingly on the High Street, often unnoticed next to the neighbouring Plas Mawr, the large town house built by Robert Wynn. Built largely in the sixteenth century, it is thought that Mansion House was the dower house either to Plas Mawr itself or to the Buckley's, another affluent local family. Local historian and children's author Margaret Williams lived in Mansion House until her death in 2015.

Recclesia was contracted to complete a phase of conservation, repair and upgrade work to Mansion House in 2017. This was no ordinary domestic refurbishment, but a complex unpicking of decades of inappropriate additions, poor previous repair work, and a lot of papering over the cracks! Beneath all of this was an extraordinary historic building, which meant the client wanted Recclesia as a conservation specialist rather than a general contractor to undertake the work.

Led by conservation architects from the Conwy office of Donald Insall Associates, the project began in March 2017 with a very careful strip-out process, continually assessing what was historically significant, and what could be removed. During this process, a huge amount of information was learnt about the building, meaning that the plans had to be significantly changed to accomodate historic features previously unknown, such as original wattle and daub walls.

The scope of works included contractor-designed M&E installation, new limecrete-glapor floors with underfloor heating and natural slate finishes, new windows, doors, staircases and bespoke fitted furniture, insulation to roofs, masonry repairs and repointing using lime mortars throughout. With the exception of the M&E installation, all of the work was carried out in-house by Recclesia.

One of the most challenging parts of the project was dealing with an underground spring which was discovered under the floor in what is now the dining room. There was no way of stopping the water, so a clever network of underground sumps and pipework was engineered to divert the water out of the building prior to laying the new floors in a fully breathable system.