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Verdant Sanctuary "... discrete pockets of space, depending on scale of occupancy..."

The aim of this project was to create a rural idyll for an urban commuter to return to during the week and also to welcome his sons at the weekend. Therefore the occupancy of the house varied greatly and care was needed to ensure that the scale and sequence of the spaces were proportionate to the occupants and their usage; providing a sense of solace and not an overwhelming void. This was achieved by creating a discrete suite of rooms on both floors (with separate entrance) which contained all necessary functions for the single user, the additional rooms to then be revealed as required.

The internal layout of this 1930's house was retained except for the two suites of rooms for the private occupancy model; these comprised areas for working, living and dining on the lower floor, and areas for dressing, bathing and sleeping on the upper floor. However the main focal points were located in the surrounding extensive grounds of 3.2 acres and so the intention was to draw the gaze outside of the internal space whenever possible; to the formal garden, to the woodland, and to the far reaching views beyond to the south.

To contrast with the existing features typical of this period (stained glass windows, arched windows and doorways, oak panelling) flooring was chosen in the suites to introduce a counterpoint; glass, slate and leather on the lower floor, stone on the upper floor. This further delineated the areas for private occupation from the rest of the house in which remained the existing timber floors.

The lighting was created so as to illuminate discrete pockets of space which could be added to or subtracted from depending on the scale of the occupancy. Each space also has multiple possibilities, to ensure a variable play of light.

Natural light also permeates the building through large original windows, especially the full height bay window and two sets of glazed doors leading onto the rear terrace.

Within the upper suite most of the functional elements are arranged as an island within the shell of the space, due to the eaves. This allows a fluidity of movement between the three areas. The central island unit plays many roles. Firstly, as a part glazed dividing wall between the bathroom and bedroom. Secondly, as a dividing wall between the bathroom and dressing area. Thirdly, as a base or foundation for the furniture on either side, i.e. the bed uses the wall as a headboard; the double shower on the other side is served by fittings recessed flush into its surface.

As an RIBA Chartered Practice, please contact us on 01636 814624 or email for guidance on all aspects of your current project from design and cost through to planning and construction, and we will help realise your vision.


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