To design a garden annexe with a bit of luxury, an ‘always-on-holiday’ home for grandparents to enjoy their retirement. It comprises two bedrooms with ensuite, an office, and open plan living. The purpose was to make the most of the views over the lake, the passage of the sun and the evening sunset, and to create a sheltered courtyard to maximise the enjoyment of a central swimming pool throughout the year.
The barn was converted some years ago, the property being in farmland just outside Rotherfield. The site itself was once the farmyard and storage area and features a rustic Sussex sandstone wall that had fallen into disrepair. We brought it back to life by including it in the design, using the natural downwards slope of the landscape to wrap around the new building. This means that, from main house, all you can see is that original stone wall, and the privacy of both generations is ensured. Another plus is that by re-using as much of the stone as possible to clad the outside of the new build, we’ve reduced the environmental impact, lowered costs and retained the rural charm of the overall plot.
This site is in the Weald, an area of outstanding natural beauty, and within 7km of Ashdown forest, a site of special scientific interest. The important and necessary environmental surveys had been completed as part of the original permission to convert the barns behind, and as this was within the curtilage of that existing property, these did not need to be repeated. However, consideration of the mature trees and their position relative to the development was needed. By careful and considered design to compliment the existing barn, and to sit appropriately in the landscape, the permission was secured within 2-3 months of submission.
The Pool House is designed to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living, with the central outdoor pool creating a focal courtyard. The impact on the environment was at the forefront of our plans. We’ve used green building techniques to minimise heat loss and so the carbon footprint of the building, which is heated with an air source heat pump.
A cantilevered roof means a walkway around the house is covered, providing protection in all seasons. We’ve weatherboarded the outside of the house in green oak too – it already adds charm and will look even better as the wood ages.
The house forms a courtyard around a heated spa pool that sits in its centre, overlooking the natural lake in the grounds just outside beautiful Rotherfield near Crowborough. With large windows to admire the view and let in light, it makes the wildlife and foliage part of the living experience. The open terrace is perfect for both shade in summer and cover in autumn, so the owners can soak up the idyllic countryside views all year round.
As a designer, it’s so important to keep listening to clients, and to be aware that they may want to add or change elements of the design once they can visualise the space and how they will live in it. Ultimately I want to create spaces my clients will love for years to come.