TV chef Jamie Oliver has applied for permission to modernise the servants’ quarters on the top floor of his £6million 12-bedroom mansion in Essex.
The celebrity cook wants to restore the attic at his Grade 1 listed home, Spains Hall, which dates back to 1570.
Plans lodged with Braintree District Council show Jamie wants to extend the electrics, plumbing and heating to the second floor of his home so it can be used by his family.
In addition to the 12 existing bedrooms, he wants to create three bedrooms in the attic – one with an en-suite – as well as a bathroom, dressing room and cloakroom.
His latest Channel 4 show ‘Keep Cooking: Family Favourites’ was largely filmed at the house, giving viewers tantalising glimpses of its beautiful gardens.
The plans show the new attic bathroom would have ‘his and hers’ wash basins, a bath and toilet, whilst the wallpaper in all the bedrooms would be repaired and retained and replica paper made to match any repairs.
A design statement accompanying the plans says the proposed works ‘are not considered to detract from the character or special architectural interest’ of the house.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has applied for planning permission from Braintree District Council to convert the top floor of his £6m 12-bedroom Essex mansion (pictured) into three bedrooms with an en suite, bathroom, dressing room and cloakroom
Family: Jools and Jamie Oliver pictured at the Portland Hospital in central London with their five children (L-R) Daisy Boo Pamela, Petal Blossom Rainbow, Buddy Bear Maurice, Poppy Honey Rosie and newborn River Rocket (centre) in 2016
A statement submitted with the plans (pictured) claims the proposals allow for ‘sensitive repair and alterations to be undertaken which will sustain, enhance and conserve the heritage asset thereby representing sustainable development’
It adds: ‘The proposals allow for sensitive repair and alterations to be undertaken which are considered to comply with both national and local planning policies and will sustain, enhance and conserve the heritage asset thereby representing sustainable development.’
Jamie Oliver’s agent, Stephanie Gray of First Plan, states in the application: ‘Plumbing, heating and electrics are proposed to be extended fully to the second floor alongside other improvements, all of which are proposed to ensure the house is fit for modern family life.
‘Bedroom 9 is proposed to be repurposed as a bathroom, the small room over the front entrance is proposed to be used as a WC and the existing storage cupboard adjacent to Bedroom 7 is proposed to become an en-suite for Bedroom 7.’
She adds: ‘The proposed works are minor in scale and nature and will not change the overall form, layout or access arrangements of Spains Hall.
‘The works will have a beneficial impact in terms of ensuring necessary repairs are undertaken to leaking skylights.
‘Extending heating, plumbing and services fully to the second floor will ensure this part of the house is equipped to deal with modern family life. The internal windows within the partition walls will improve the amount of natural light in these areas.’
Oliver is waiting to see if councillors will grant permission for his project which is planned to be the latest in a series of improvements to his home.
Some of the rooms on the top floor (circled in white) were historically used as servants quarters from 16th to 19th century
Council chiefs have already backed improvements to the heating and electrics in the old servants’ quarters, describing it as an ‘important requirement’.
The top floor of Jamie’s house was originally comprised of two parts that did not connect.
There were two bedrooms above the Great Hall for family members or guests, while the other section was accommodation for servants, accessed by the back stairs.
The staff accommodation would originally have consisted of two large rooms for female staff, south of the back stairs, and similarly sized dormitories for male staff, north of the back stairs, and over the west wing.
The two parts of the top floor were later linked together with steps from the front corridor and a new opening in the wall.
The staff rooms were also divided up at a later date to allow staff members more privacy at night and to reflect different ranks within the household.
A heritage statement by Stephen Gray Consultancy said the top floor of the house had ‘historic significance in illustrating original and improved accommodation for house servants, and chambers for household members which would now be considered relatively plain and of no great comfort.’
It added: ‘The top floor of the building was originally configured in two parts that did not interconnect. Bedrooms 8 and 9, above the great hall were chambers for family members or guests, accessed off a corridor from the west staircase.
Oliver is waiting to see if council will grant permission for project which is the latest in a series of improvements to his home
‘The other parts of the top floor were attics and servants’ night time accommodation, accessed off the back stairs.’
It said: ‘Tangibility of the original top floor organisation of basic and non-private accommodation for staff that prevailed from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries is a principal aspect of historic significance.
‘However, added partitions have further social historic significance in showing how living conditions and status of household staff improved during the nineteenth century.’
The TV chef bought the mansion on the 70-acre estate at the start of 2019 and had building work done on the house before he moved in, including the restoration of many original features.
The house had only been used by three families and hadn’t been sold for 250 years when Jamie bought it.
The manor house currently boasts 12 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a large games room, great hall, dining room, two drawing rooms and a wine storage area.
The property also comes with an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts and fishing lakes.