Many take a cue from the local vernacular when designing a home, but if you are after something different which works well with your site and needs, consider looking further afield for some international style.
It’s not a sight you’d expect to see nestled among the hills of South Yorkshire, but thanks to the vision of owner Doug Barber – along with an open-minded architect and builder – this impressive Swiss chalet is the perfect example of how foreign architecture can be translated here in the UK.
The success of the design is primarily down to getting the key details right. The exterior, for example, features large overhanging eaves on a gable roof set at a 20° angle, which in Switzerland helps to protect buildings from avalanches.
The strong ridge height nods to the peaks of the Swiss mountains, and round-edged corbelling – while an additional £5,000 expense – was visually important in helping this home to appear authentic. Building materials such as render, timber and stone also replicate materials common to the Swiss vernacular.
Sitting within the Highgate Conservation Area, looking at this jaw-dropping new home created by architectural practice Stanton Williams, you would have never guessed this triumphant dwelling, which would look perfectly at home in the Far East, is in fact based in north London, set back from Fitzroy Park.
Replacing a late 1950s house, the house is surrounded by nature with the four upper-level bedrooms nestled amongst the tree canopies, with balconies and views to Hampstead Heath and beyond. A minimal stone and metal bridge leads into the heart of the house, which opens up to views over a day-lit 6m double-height void down to the lower garden level while large sliding glass doors dissolve the boundary between inside and out.
The exterior has been clad in dark timber and limestone, while cedar fencing and oiled iroko balconies provide a pleasing contrast. Glazing also features heavily, allowing the internal spaces to be filled with natural daylight.
South Beach Haven
Taking its cue from the line of contemporary pads on Miami’s beautiful South Beach, this project designed by architectural practice Stephenson Studio actually calls the Welsh countryside home.
Wide expanses of glazing feature throughout, with most rooms enjoying panoramic views of the sea and sky. Further views across the fields, to the mountains and Criccieth Castle, as well as intimate views internally, allow the homeowners to view from inside to outside. Visual links are abundant through pivot doors, and sliding glass screens open the inner courtyard and external terrace into the open plan living spaces.
Image: Stephenson Studio
This beautifully finished Cape Cod-style home in East Sussex showcases how American architecture can be done well in the UK — thanks to the careful attention to detail from the homeowners, who were inspired by their many American holidays.
From the sprocketed eaves detailing providing ample coverage for a wrap-around veranda, well-proportioned dormer windows, and maintenance-free fibre cement board cladding for the exterior, as well as generously sized rooms, a double-height galleried landing and shutters for the interior, this home oozes New England charm.
Rising up from a former derelict site in London, this impressive project by architect/homeowner Jake Edgley of Edgley Design has been designed using glazing, gold trims, concrete formwork walls and pine timber cladding — all wrapped around a courtyard housing a 100-year-old pear tree.
With its serene, leafy surroundings and use of natural materials in a stylish contemporary package, the project wouldn’t look out of place in a Japanese setting.
Designed by Charles Barclay Architects, this agricultural-style single-storey weekend house situated on former farmland in Suffolk nods to European Scandinavian style thanks to its low profile and black timber cladding, complete with bright, minimalist and yet cosy interior spaces — filled with natural light thanks to full-height glazing.
Formed of two L-shapes – one for normal weekend occupation, the second as guest accommodation when family or friends visit – the house features three wings which project out into the landscape with a raised terrace and decked areas nestled between them.
Built using structural insulated panels (SIPs), the house is low-energy too, with south-facing glazing, high levels of insulation, a ground-source heat pump, photovoltaic panels and woodburners ensuring minimal energy consumption. Meanwhile, the external material palette of black timber and galvanised steel Crittal windows give the house a rugged agricultural feel.
Image: Paul Craig
It’s perhaps every architect’s dream — a client with no brief or formal budget, with aspirations of creating a dream home in a stunning location. This scenario turned into a reality for architect Stan Bolt when Tony Gibbon approached him after purchasing a large 1960s house on a dramatic site in Salcombe, Devon.
Taking its cue from the architecture typically found lining California’s coastline, the final design features a flat roof, clean lines, decked balconies, expanses of frameless glazing to take in the beach vista, and uses a simple palette of crisp white render, natural stone, timber and zinc cladding. An infinity pool further helps to transport the home to the sunny climes of the West Coast.
Kerrie Daykin and Emile Borghana chose German package company, Baufritz, for their self build after seeing an advertisement in a magazine.
Unsurprisingly, given the company’s origin, the design of the home is unquestionably European in style, evoking the feel of a German chalet thanks to its A-frame design and dramatic overhanging roof with covered balcony and glazed gables. In keeping with the chalet style, the home features a spruce-clad exterior with aluminium-clad timber doors and windows.
So often homes built on the rural landscape of the Scottish Borders take on a design that responds to the surrounding agricultural buildings — often in the hope of appeasing the local planners. Step in Jerry and Shona Ponder’s American-inspired home, which breaks with convention by taking its cue from the ranch-style architecture more commonplace across the pond.
While the interior of the home has been designed with the family’s needs in mind, the exterior reveals a heavy American influence. Using a one-and-a-half storey design built in timber frame and blockwork, the long low-profile home features a steeply pitched roof with overhanging eaves. Timber clad dormer windows, a slate roof and white render add to the look.