A 200-year old, listed Yorkshire Dales cottage, renovated to create a low carbon, energy-efficient modern family home, has shown what is possible by winning a prestigious national award.

Smithy Cottage, in Appletreewick was named 'best residential conversion or alteration to an existing home' at the grand finals of the LABC Building Excellence Awards at the The Grosvenor House Hotel, London.

The cottage, in the village's Main Street, had already won the Yorkshire regional award and went on to clinch the national prize from a line-up of nine other regional winners with judges describing it as: “An excellent conversion with superb preservation methods and environmental practices.”

The LABC grand finals, attended by more than 900 construction professionals, and this year compered by comedian and actor Steven Mangan, celebrate building excellence and are the largest business to business awards in the building control sector in the UK.

The challenges in refurbishing Smithy Cottage were considerable: it’s a grade two listed building, dating from 1810, in a conservation area and the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Bat roosts added further complexity.

John Makin, who with wife Amy, owns the cottage, said: “When we first saw the cottage it needed some modernising but it also had great charm and potential. Now, through the renovations and alterations, we have a fabulous home in keeping with its beautiful location at the heart of the village, and with spectacular views.

“What makes winning the award particularly special is that all the work has been done by independent, family firms from Yorkshire. It’s brilliant to see these businesses, who really care about doing a first rate job, recognised on a national stage.”

The project team was headed by Richard Dawson, of Bingley-based R Dawson Architect RIBA Ltd. As well as designing the conversion, he successfully liaised with North Yorkshire Building Control Partnership as well as the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

He said: “The transformation of Smithy Cottage shows how it’s possible to successfully retrofit these beautiful, historic buildings and create modern homes for communities within national parks and conservation areas.

“Our success has been down to close team working and the skills of all involved who shared enthusiasm and passion for the project.

“In addition, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority were supportive and receptive to the ideas and proposals we put forward, from the first site meeting with them and throughout the process.”

The contractor, Holme Building Contractors Ltd, is based near Appletreewick and uses a local workforce which helped to reduce embodied carbon during the construction period.

At the start, Smithy Cottage’s energy performance certificate was a G19. It’s expected to reach a low B80, a solid achievement. The cottage is now well insulated with minimal thermal bridging, lower air-leakage, good ventilation and has a renewable heating system with an air source heat pump and solar electric PVs. The renewables contractor was Yorkshire Energy Systems of Harrogate.

J B Langley Associates of Wibsey, Bradford, provided structural engineering advice for reinstating the roof and upper floor, and wall stability. Patchett Joinery, from Clayton, manufactured, supplied and installed the factory-finished eco-friendly, bespoke windows and doors – using a high quality energy efficient glazing solution in line with the national park’s planning policy.

Congratulating the whole team on their success, Lorna Stimpson, LABC Chief Executive said: “I firmly believe that one of the best ways to see more good work is to praise building excellence and publicly acknowledge companies, designers, site managers and tradespeople who go that extra mile.”