Howghyll, a striking contemporary home in Derbyshire – is a beautiful example of how modern design, done well, is the obvious solution when building a new home.

35 years ago, couple Pete and Lot moved to the village for work reasons, purchasing a five-bedroom Victorian house on a two-acre corner site.

One area with access to the road offered the potential to build a future home.

When the timing was right and their children raising families of their own, they portioned off a small section of the garden, around one-fifth of an acre, on one of the more sloping parts.

Project Notes

  • Name: Pete and Lot Clark
  • Build cost: £327,900 (£1,906/m²)
  • Build time: 1 year
  • Location: Derbyshire

The Brief

Pete and Lot chose Robert Evans of Evans Vettori Architects who offers beautiful yet practical buildings.

They wanted a garden that would give them enough interest but be easy to maintain, a single storey space with all the living areas, kitchen and bedrooms on one level, plenty of storage, and of course a home flexible enough to comfortably accommodate their grown-up family for visits. It also needed to be highly energy efficient to minimise ongoing running costs. A significant slope and the desire not to negatively impact on their existing home was critical — the new home was to sit directly between the old place and the spectacular views over the Amber Valley to the east.

Planning Permission

The couple approached a local planning consultant to achieve outline planning approval on the site, which was successfully obtained. “The problem was that he detailed the position of the new house on the plans but didn’t make it a reserved matter,” explains Lot. “It meant that the position of the house was tied to the planning approval, so if we wanted to move it in the future, we would have to start all over again.”

The Build

This is a home built to exceptional standards — critical in realising the beauty of Robert’s original concept. The project was managed by a main contractor who was skilled in drawing out the detail in the contemporary scheme, and run through a JCT contract and supervised by the architects. Built into a slope with large glulam beams supporting a flat roof, the home enjoys fabulous views. “It was stressful, of course,” says Pete, “but we’re delighted with the result.”

Corridor lit by a clerestory window

A gently sloping corridor, lit by a clerestory window at the top of the brick wall (left of shot) provides access to the bedrooms as well as a glass-walled sunroom. The wood floors are from Kährs

Open plan living/dining area

The home is effectively single storey but accessed via a staircase from the partial ground floor. It’s largely open plan, with the staircase separating the dining/living and kitchen space

Kitchen with curved corners

The kitchen has curved corners to soften the impact as you enter the private part of the home

Floor-to-ceiling glazing and corner windows maximise light in the living area

Large glazing and corner windows maximise light and views in the open plan space

Built-in wardrobes create a partition wall between bedroom and dressing room

Because the site slopes into the corner, the living rooms are effectively raised while the bedrooms open out on to the gardens

The house is built on a sloping site

Pete and Lot’s new home is situated in the corner of the garden of their former home on a significant slope. Architect Robert Evans positioned the home at the top of the plot, building it into the slope so that it could simultaneously nestle down to minimise its impact on their original home and enjoy the views to the max

The view from the house

The engineering solution is smart and provides the house with much of its beauty. The house has reinforced concrete raft foundations, with a reinforced masonry retaining wall ‘box’ in the basement. Glulam beams are supported on the rear retaining wall to the one side and galvanised steel posts to the other. The sloping flat roof is in fact an intensive green roof with a biodiverse seed mix, consisting of 100mm growing medium on drainage layer on membrane

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