A traditional Norfolk farmhouse

Renovation of a country farmhouse

Here’s a farmhouse in West Norfolk that we sprayed in February 2020. The brickwork that you see on the outside is a Georgian addition from the late 18th century.

We covered around 230 square metres (2475 square feet) with 150mm (6 inches) of hempcrete. This was a total of 36 cubic metres of hempcrete by volume (1,271 cubic feet).

wall made of clunch and brick

The original building was made of what we call ‘clunch’ which is essentially big lumps of chalk stuck together to form a wall.

You can see the clunch in the first interior shot of the video below, with a row of hand-cast hempcrete at the bottom of the wall. We hand cast this first section for two reasons. The first is that it uses up what we call the ‘drop’ from the spraying process and the second reason is that it gives an excellent line to spray from, making spraying accurately much easier.

You will see in the video that we are spraying to a laser. We drop the light levels in the room by covering the windows which makes the laser easy to see when the hempcrete reaches it. With this technique you can spray a wall pretty much flat quite quickly once you have mastered the technique. Bob is doing the spraying here and he is really good at it (better than me, Bob!). You can see that you build the wall out just short of the finished wall surface and then switch on the laser and spray until the hempcrete goes green. You then move the green line across the wall towards the laser. We use standard laser levels for work that is plumb and a different free style laser if we want to make the wall lean in or out to follow the original wall.

We rounded the corners on the window reveals where we could, and you can see two large columns with rounded edges either side of the front door which were just blockwork and pipes before we got to them. It is amazing what hempcrete will hide, turning ugly into a feature!

You can see a funny little plywood box in front of one of the windows and this is a home-made lift (elevator) the client made for going down to the wine cellar! The master bedroom has a shower and toilet in the middle of the room that makes the best of the views over the countryside. We called it the bus shelter when we were working on it, but it has turned out rather nicely now I think.