This New Forest self build mixes sharp contemporary design with a natural, organic approach to materials (and a great natural swimming pond) — the result is a supremely tranquil affair.
It would have been easy for Perring Architecture & Design (PAD) to revert to the grand contemporary-style statement favoured by so many architects when approached by a client with a dream site such as this.
Situated at the end of a private road in the New Forest, the huge 18-acre site enjoys views over woodland and heath – and perfect privacy – and was home to a run-down bungalow of “rudimentary garden shed construction”, according to architects Wendy Perring and Darren Bray.
- Name: PAD Architects
- Build time: 1 year
- Region: Hampshire
“We recognised how special the site was and aimed to create something for the new owners that gave them everything they wanted but also felt part of this spectacular natural environment,” Wendy continues.
“The original dwelling was pretty small, and the planners insisted on any new dwelling being no more than 30 per cent bigger,” explains Wendy. “Luckily, there were a few outbuildings on the site and we managed to get these included within the original allowance, which helped — but this would still very much be an exercise in getting the most out of a tiny footprint.”
“The clients wanted something that was natural and organic. In a way, the restriction on size only served to focus our minds on maximising what the clients got, whilst minimising the impact of the house on its surroundings. That restriction freed us up to be able to concentrate on the liveability aspect of the house” explains Wendy.
The house is immensely light — enjoying southerly sun that fills the living space with natural light and passive heat through huge sliding glass doors from Fineline Aluminium. Combined with the natural architecture is an impressive set of eco credentials.
The ground floor consists of a large open plan living/dining/kitchen area – the individual zones are cleverly demarcated through a change in floor levels – and the master bedroom, which opens out onto the natural swimming pond. The window here is cleverly positioned to appear as if it floats over the water.
PAD decided that a basement was the only way of creating the room the clients needed without impacting upon the footprint, and downstairs there’s storage space, an office and wine cellar, achieving a total internal floor area of 240m2 — remarkable considering the minimal impact the house has. There’s also a 50m2 self-contained guest annexe.
Clever use was made of the spoil from the basement and pool excavation, reusing the material to screen the walls of the home to the north and give it the feel of being built into the landscaping. It is so refreshing to see a young, ambitious architectural firm be able to exercise such restraint and subtlety when faced with a site of so much potential.