The Old Flax Shop

The owners of ‘The Old Flax Shop’ approached Design Storey after seeing our work at the Miner’s Cottages, to explore the possibility of converting this curtilage-listed outbuilding into a boutique Airbnb. The building, which forms part of a former flax farm, is located near Bridport in the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has a lovely position, tucked in next to the former farmhouse, with views across to a local landmark Colmer’s Hill to the north.

Clients View:

"Design Storey have been great to deal with straight from the off, understanding our wishes for the project and working with us to make it a reality. Communication has been excellent and the designs have been inspiring. We are hopefully at the end of a lengthy planning application process and Design Storey have remained professional and prompt throughout. It has been a great decision to work with Design Storey to help us navigate our way through our Grade II listed conversion. Would definitely recommend!!"

Read more reviews on Houzz

View The Old Flax Shop on Airbnb

The area around Bridport is renowned for its rope making industry and its likely that the flax on this farm was grown to make ropes. Originally the owners thought the building was a former coach house as it been used as garaging and storage but research into the building’s history at the start of the project revealed the connection with flax and the rope-making industry. The building is quirky, and had been subject to quite a few alterations over its past including changes to the first floor structure to accommodate a large motor vehicle in the early c20th.  We embraced the historic fabric and phases of development, and sought to tell the story of the building’s association with flax growing and the rope-making industry through the design. 

Long Section A-A

The brief included sensitive conversion of the existing building by the insertion of two bedrooms, bathroom and a kitchen. Our approach was to minimise disruption to historic fabric and celebrate historic features where possible with careful consideration given to the bathroom and kitchen design to ensure that services could be sensitively inserted in to the building.


Inspiration was drawn from the building’s flax history by through the stair design, which features rope balusters and through the material choices for the interiors. Existing materials where re-used where possible, this included cleaning and relaying the Staffordshire-blue pavers in the main living room and refurbishing and reusing an old workbench to create an upcycled unit in the kitchen.

The existing building was built on a slope so there were multiple level changes through the space, in order to mitigate this and create a new bathroom in the centre room, a curved wall and set of steps was inserted into the space. This was clad in reclaimed-timber, creating a dividing screen, enabling the existing historic openings to remain unaltered. Upstairs, two dividing walls were inserted to create two cosy bedrooms, tucked up in the eaves, accessed off the central landing.

Externally, all the existing openings were retained and the joinery, including the big coach house doors, were refurbished and two arrow slit windows were inserted into the north elevation to provide views out to Colmer’s Hill beyond.

The project has been an enormous success with very positive initial reviews online and lots of interest and potential bookings once COVID restrictions are lifted.

Before & After