Dartmouth has a magical appeal with something for everyone; unique shops, fine restaurants, live music and art along with fishing and sailing where the river meets the sea. And overlooking the bustle of it all, high on the steep estuary slopes are the narrow streets and old stone steps where houses jostle with each other to find space for the best views.   

  • Complete removal of old roof and chimney.
  • Raising walls transforms dark attic space to light living room.
  • New windows reveal stunning 180° views.
  • A local team working with local people.


The property at Nelson Steps is one such place; tucked away in amongst other buildings the house originally offered small, but tantalising glimpses of the spectacular estuary and stunning countryside through the odd gaps and spaces between the rooftops and chimneys. So the challenge was how to convert the old attic into new living space while also liberating the views?

The plan was simple: the first phase was the removal of the old roof and chimney stack, all the main structural timbers, every last batten and slate along with a large bulk of brick and masonry from the chimney.

With all of that out of the way the South Hams Roofing team then raised the existing walls by 600 mm, which may not sound much, but this allowed the new roof to transform what had been the dark and dead attic into new, fresh and light living space with windows and views to the Dartmouth Navy College, across to Kingswear and out to sea.

A simple plan, but just how easy was it to carry out?

Pete Scoble: “Dartmouth has a whole network of steps and alleyways; it’s all very old and intricate, but it also makes the removal of the old building and the delivery of new materials quite tricky, but being an all local team we know the area well and we have good relationships with the surrounding residents, businesses and local authorities, so while the logistics were a real challenge we kept disruption to a minimum”.

So what a difference 600 mm can make! A house that was tucked away and hidden now has a new roof built to modern standards with fresh timber work, full insulation and new windows. The Spanish Lugo slate on the roof and sea facing wall will not only take the worst of the winter storms, but it also sparkles in the sun, blending in with its surroundings as if it has been there all along…

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