Marianne Suhr

Marianne is a Chartered Building Surveyor specialising in the repair of older buildings.

She has a first class degree in Building Surveying and worked for two years as a clerk of works for a large National Trust house in South Wales. She completed a nine month travelling scholarship with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) in 1995 during which time she developed an interest in traditional building crafts and ‘vernacular’ architecture. She worked for 7 years in architectural practice on high profile buildings such as Cardiff Castle, Kelmarsh Hall and the National Trust estate at Avebury.

In 2002 Marianne gave up her desk job to concentrate on practical, ‘hands on’ projects. She bought a derelict cottage with a friend and colleague and spent two years learning the skills needed to restore it. She was a co presenter during three series of BBC2’s ‘Restoration’ programme and has also fronted the Discovery series, ‘Project Restoration’. For 11 years she has worked with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, running around 100 courses and practical workshops around the country, teaching builders, homeowners and architects how to repair old buildings properly. In 2008 Marianne co-authored a book entitled ‘Old House Handbook’ published by Frances Lincoln, aimed at empowering homeowners to make informed decisions. She has just co-authored a companion volume, ‘Old House Eco Handbook’ by the same publisher. She is currently working on her third home, a timber framed house in Oxfordshire dating back to 1550, which she shares with her husband Richard and two sons.

Marianne has developed a practical approach to repair through many years of working ‘hands-on’. She is dedicated to the philosophy of ‘repair’ rather than ‘replace’, retaining the integrity of an old house, with all its imperfections! She enjoys the challenge of ‘reworking’ buildings with poor internal layouts, and using good design to problem solve and update tired interiors. She is particularly interested in using lime mortars, lime plasters and traditional paints to give buildings an authentic finish and intrinsic beauty. She spends much of her time reversing the mistakes of the last 30 years, reinstating traditional joinery and finishes, and removing cement to allow old buildings to ‘breathe’. Marianne is particularly interested in improving energy efficiency without compromising historic fabric.

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