Stone porticos and cantilevered staircases are becoming the must-have feature for homes of distinction, say Cheddar-based Wells Cathedral Stonemasons.
According to Peter Arkell, Managing Director: "Porticos have become the out-door equivalent of ornate stone fireplaces as a badge of prestige.
"We have seen a huge increase in orders for neo-classical pillared stone porches for door-ways. Demand for porticos is now matching the orders for carved-stone fire surrounds.
"Most orders are coming from architects working on new homes but we\'re also being asked to create porticos for the extension and renovation of existing houses.
"Home-owners have recognised that traditional stone features - whether they are internal fireplaces or external porticos - add a unique distinction to their property. We have also seen a boom in demand for cantilevered stone staircases."
To ensure that the skills to make such intricate features in stone continue to flourish, Wells maintain a policy of employing apprentices - and three more have just qualified as stonemasons at the end of their three-year training: George Hael, Joe Phelps, and Kane Truckle.