A Contemporary Design & Build Project
– A Case Study
The couple who commissioned this project have lived on its site since the early 1980s. Their new home replaces a ponderous Edwardian edifice, which nonetheless had fulfilled its duty as a home to raise a family. With children now grown and departed, and a property tired from extensions and alterations over the years, the couple approached Janine Stone for a re-think. Both the necessity and opportunity for change was immediately apparent. The client took the courageous decision to leave aside any sentimentality and replace the house with a new one…
Site & Situation:
A feasibility study confirmed a new build approach was superior to renovating the existing property. The six acre plot was large and well-established, featuring mature trees and woodland scenery, but the existing property neglected its advantageous surroundings and the opportunity to bring natural light into the home. To realise the new home’s potential, a new house was conceived that would fill the vacated footprint of the old.
In developing the right concept for the site, the client gave us two key pieces of information. Firstly, a photograph of a 1930’s thatched Dutch house with frameless art deco style glazing. Secondly, a rough sketch of the links between kitchen, pantry, dining room and snug.
“What about the rest?” our designers asked, “oh, you make it up” said the client.
An open brief allowed our architects, designers and construction specialists to conceive a home that would belie the existing house’ design, meeting all of our client’s lifestyle requirements now and in the future. The challenge was achieving these aspirations seamlessly with the natural surrounds.
As one approaches this house tantalizing glimpses of the home’s facade are caught all along the sweeping journey from the main gate at back of the house, all the way around to the the home’s main front entrance. The unconventional roof lines subtly reference the classical dutch style, originally described by our client, but have been re-interpreted by increasing their slope and lengthening the overhang. From a distance the new property appears to be at home, hunkered down, in its woodland surrounds as opposed to standing uncomfortably upright and above the tree canopy line. Looking in from the exterior the extended eaves enhance the occupant’s the level of privacy, whilst shielding the sun’s glare on the inside and maintaining perfect views out to the gardens, even when the sun is at its brightest.
The large mullioned windows, some of them over 8 feet tall, allow the outside views to become part of the living experience inside the home. This is a contemporary country home that works in harmony with its bucolic surroundings. An achievement that is exemplified by a little piece of engineering concealed with the features of the garden that takes waste water from the house; cleans it, recycles it and nourishes the garden flora. The virtuous cycle of life.
The swimming pool has been designed to a very particular specification, measuring precisely 12.5 meters to allow our client to compare his daily performances in the pool. The kitchen and double pantry was very much a collaboration between our designers, the kitchen manufacturers and our client – who had a keen interest in shaping the design of this space and forms the heart of the home.
What this house achieves that the previous one failed at, is the utilisisation of its’ extensive woodland and garden areas. By landscaping the gardens almost as a series of individual outdoor spaces, additional rooms if you like, the outdoor spaces feel just as much a part of the in home experience. From the pool room one can amble outside along a trail to a secluded yoga platform that resides in its own garden of tranquility, just as the bountiful kitchen garden is able to be enjoyed just a few steps away from the kitchen – a space so dear to our client. Without being obvious the resultant house is in fact a lifetime home, which will meet the needs of its occupants for the rest of their lives.