Renovation Case Study – VK Hair Salon, Barkway

Front elevation of the shop before works started

Project details

  • Developer – Owner-managed project
  • Property Detail – Retail unit and Hair Salon
  • Location – Barkway (between Buntingford and Royston)
  • Duration – 4 Months


The following case study shows how Owner Giles Sadler took a run down old shop, of wooden construction in a village location between Buntingford and Royston, and turned it into a chic boutique hair salon. Check out the salon’s website at VK Hair Styling.

Shop from North gable-end

View of shop from South gable-end

View of exterior area and side of lean to extension

Rear elevation of shop and len to extension

Proposed Layout

3D renders of the proposed layout and final look and feel (Expertly done by Mike Halls at

3D Render of Proposed Hair Salon exterior

3D Render of Proposed Hair Salon interior

3D Render of Proposed Hair Salon interior

Now the hard work starts…

Although this looked like a simple project of renovating an old shed it turned out to be more involved than we could have imagined. There were many hurdles that we had to overcome renovating a 130 year old wooden building of non-standard construction (massive understatement) throws up.

The shape of the shop and lean-to extension are more like that of a parallelogram than a rectangle and the walls are so far away from perpendicular that we have had to strip the old dry lining out (which revealed more issues, missing membrane and insulation, rotten studs, mouse nests, wasp nests etc, etc) and add studwork to create a true vertical face to the wall.

We had to install completely new plumbing that included installing a hot water cylinder, capable of meeting the salon requirements, in the loft and moving the waste and water around in the shop and kitchen to meet the needs of the proposed layout.

First job was to pull out the old stud wall in the kitchen and build the new WC area in the shop.

Temporary sink in old kitchen area

Stud wall removed between old kitchen and WC with new soil pipe installed and temporary sink in new kitchen area

Soil pipe exit into shallow inspection chamber

New WC and lobby studwork

Studwork built for new WC and kitchen wall

Eclisse pocket door frame ready for installation

Eclisse pocket door aluminium frame fixed in place

This is the frame for the Eclisse Pocket Door that we are installing. Not only is the Eclisse system gorgeous to look at and incredibly efficient in its operation but it does a superb job of creating a door in a very tight space, amazing!

Plumbing and studwork in WC and kitchen wall

Entrance into the kitchen and WC on the left with new lobby wall studwork on the right


At this point, a gorgeous new engineered oak wooden floor (supplied by was laid and then instantly covered up to protect the oak smoked oiled finish that had been applied.

New engineered wooden floor from the Southern end of the building


Sky the Dog, overseeing the removal of the South wall drylining

Laying out the salon

Setting out the noggins for the wall mirror fixings in relation to the styling chairs

Wall mirror offered up to the wall for final set-out of noggins in studwork


At this point the electricians (Linco Electrical based in Hertford and Suffolk) were bought in to undertake the not too insignificant job of re-wiring all the electrics. This involved ripping up the overboarding in the loft, which had been nailed down, and then being confined up there for a not inconsiderable amount of time (very hot and dusty) in order to run the miles of cable and fish it down through the voids. Colin and Wayne have done a grand job of putting in a new consumer unit and wiring up all the sockets, lights and hot water cylinder. They have also installed emergency lighting and smoke and heat detectors as required by building control.

Wiring ends to the new consumer unit ready to be connected

Bay window lighting cable

Cabling in WC

Down light cables in kitchen

Drylining boxes for shop light switches

Lighting switch cables in lobby

Lighting cables in shop


The kitchen has arrived. I sourced this from and now takes up the lion share of the shop floor. The carcass is in a lovely Graphite colour with beautiful shiney high gloss doors in Altino Graphite.

Kitchen and shop units delivered

Drylining lobby wall

Studwork complete for new wall at Southern end of shop

Eastern wall of shop with new drylined membraned and and insulated covering

South east corner of shop drylined

South wall of shop drylined

Dry lining almost complete now. Here we are offering up the back wash basins to get the position of the services for the plumber.

Southern end of shop wall partially drylined


Here is the kitchen and WC being I tiled in a light coloured tile (Replica Ivory in 330mm ceramic tiles) from Wickes. First of all the trench, left over from the old stud wall, and the holes for the soil pipe had to be filled with rapid set cement. Then a self leveler was poured in the WC and kitchen area.

Levelling compound has been poured and is now set ready for tiling in the kitchen area

Kitchen area from doorway after the levelling compound has gone-off

WC partially tiled

Couple of cuts left to complete tiling in WC

Setting-out the layout for the tiles between the WC and kitchen area

Laying out tiles in the kitchen area

WC floor tiled leveled tiled and grouted

Kitchen floor levelled tiled and grouted

Rotten sole plate and studwork

While removing the dry lining in the kitchen I found that the sole plate and studs had rotted away. This meant I had to dig a new trench and pour a concrete foundation so I could lay a new sole plate. I then cut back the old studs to good wood and inserted new studs with coach bolts. Then I removed the weather boarding and replaced rotten boards on the outside with a felt backing and damp proofing sheet applied on the inside with insulation and then the new dry lining.

Rotten studs and completey rotten and missing sole plate

What's left of rotten sole plate in kitchen

Old sole plate and rotten part of studs removed

Sole plate removed on one half of kitchen back wall and replaced before removing other half to stop the building from collapsing

Concrete poured ready for new sole plate

New soleplate for kitchen and WC wall

Back to dry lining…

WC drylined

Painting and decorating

Lots of painting and decorating going on with dry line joints being skimmed and dry wall screw holes being filled. Skirting boards have been glossed and then the walls primed and finally coated with matt white.

New handles on windows and frames glossed

Wallpaper put up on feature wall

Wallpaper around light switches on feature wall

Eclisse pocket door handles

WC handle and inuse bolt

Unit installation begins…

Having ripped so much out units are starting to go back in.

First tall broom cupboard cabinet installed in shop

Tall 900mm units put up in back wash area on WC wall

Drylining and skirting in the kitchen

Kitchen base units partially covered ready for next coat of paint in kitchen

Kitchen door and funiture

Kitchen door from shop

Kitchen from lobby

Patching the kitchen back wall

Kitchen units ready to be installed

Kitchen door painted

New frame in kitchen door

WC walls skimmed and painted

West shop wall windows glossed

We have light…

Kitchen downlights

Lobby light

WC Emergency Light

New lights fitted with 5w led daylight 45 degree 6500 lumen gu10 bulbs

Weather Boarding

New weather boarding fixed to the outside of kitchen

Stations starting to take shape

Single station by backwash area

Stations and cupboards on back wall

Plumbers on-site today

Countertop and sinks being cut in

Outside tap installed

Backwash basins being plumbed in

Window Graphics

Lady frosting in bay window

Male frosting in bay window

Units and fixtures

Sink in WC

Countertop round backwash basins

Units with undercabinet lighting around backwash basins

Mirrors in situ attached to power polses

Upstands going in around countertops in kitchen

New Roof Ladders

The old aluminium loft ladder has been replaced with a nice easy to operate wooden one.

New loft ladder installed

New threshold on backdoor

Threshold into kitchen expertly crafted by Ross

Unit doors now have handles

Unit doors get handles

Starting to look more like a Salon

Entrance and Waiting Area

Reception Desk

Coat Stand and Waiting Area

Kitchen with new appliances yet to be installed

Finishing touches before the opening day

Backwash area with product

Backwash basin area

New signs have been put up by Daren and his team at Addison Signs & Graphics which look really smart.

Gable-end shop sign

Name badges

Work surface created around backwash basins

New Acco channel drain and guttering for kitchen annex area.

New channel drain and guttering for kitchen annex

Opening day

After a lot of hard work, the salon looks great!

Backwash basin area finished

Display stand

Finished kitchen from lobby door

Kitchen finished

WC Finished

Find our more about VK Hair Styling.

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