“A contemporary twist on a traditional vernacular with an emphasis on sustainability technologies was adopted for this replacement house in the Sussex countryside”
Set in the Sussex countryside, this new family home encompassed an eclectic design philosophy, fusing a farmstead influence with a more contemporary presence, ensuring an appropriate relationship within the landscape and a nod to the memory of the original house.
Our design approach was to create a comfortable three-bedroom house, larger than the original, but designed in such a way to reduce the effect of any size increase, partly by its shape and form and partly with the use of the roof space for living accommodation.
The use of high-quality materials such as handmade bricks, horizontal weather boarding and coursed sand-stone under a series of simple clay tiled roof, again refer to the farmstead influence, but fused with the clean lines of a contemporary aesthetic.
This approach continues internally, with careful consideration to the room layouts. The principle sitting room and master bedroom accommodation occupy the first floor, creating light and airy spaces within the open pitched roofs, while also harnessing the uninterrupted views over the surrounding countryside through modest dormer windows and feature glazed gable elements.
The kitchen and dining room are at ground level, affording access out onto the secluded private gardens, along with the secondary bedrooms, entrance hall and central staircase. This concept curtails any bearing upon the surrounding landscape, and consequently, rather than the house being a single rectilinear block, the irregular shape visually reduces its scale when viewed at an angle.
The principle East and West elevations represent the main body of the house, with its sloping roof reducing to a low level above the window heads and shelter of the front door, while the projecting gable elements introduce a vertical dimension to this composition, as does the eastward projecting wing with its asymmetrical gable and lower ridge height, presenting a subservient form and introducing a stepped relief along this principle façade.
Both south and west elevations incorporate full height glazed elements, again introducing a vertical dimension, while the southern elevation with its expressed gable overhang and predominantly glazed façade, strengthens its contemporary language in concert with the more traditional elements.
The overall composition is balanced by careful selection and use of a sensitive palette of high-quality materials conducive with its surroundings in the Sussex countryside.
We have suggested nutty-brown clay tiles to the roof, with matching bonnets, ridges and valley tiles, with traditional yet simple lead clad dormers. The walls will be a mixture of brickwork, natural sandstone, and horizontal timber boarding. This boarding will be untreated oak, naturally weathered to a silver-grey colour. This will give a harmonious and natural appearance, with the neutral tone changing in hue and density with the changing weather and lighting conditions.
Windows shall be simple painted aluminium or similar units set into hardwood surrounds, albeit again allowed to weather naturally. The remaining external timberwork would be hardwood painted in a neutral heritage colour to complement the natural timber boarding.
This new house is designed to be a sustainable home. Materials will, where possible, be obtained from renewable local sources and materials from demolition of the old house will be re-used in the new construction or recycled where possible.
Energy efficient technologies will control the services, and the inclusion of rainwater harvesting, and grey water storage will form part of a holistic approach for carbon reduction and energy use.