Having bought the site in 2012, we won planning permission, raised finance and built the house - by hand as the main contractor - over the following four years. We set their own brief - to explore the ideal texture and atmosphere of domestic architecture. This experimental objective was achieved while simultaneously satisfying the constraints of speculative residential development.
Set within the Victoria Park Conservation area, the irregular site was constrained by neighbours’ rights to light, and proximity to Listed Houses. Scrupulous computer analysis allowed the house’s asymmetric form to be tuned to capture key moments of sunlight while forming apparently regular interior spaces.
Our pursuit of craftsmanship and tactility is reflected in the House’s rich palette and varied processes of fabrication. The exterior combines roman brickwork with inky pigmented zinc roofing and bleached larch carpentry. Internally, the structural steel- and timber-work is exposed, and is married to a restrained palette of reclaimed and re-purposed industrial materials.
At ground floor, a multi-level ’broken plan’ combines the raised sitting room, lofty kitchen and intense basement snug and larder. Each room maintains a discreet atmosphere programme, despite forming a highly connected living terrain. A ground source heat pump is the main source of energy for the house.
Increasingly lightweight materials are deployed in the upper, sleeping levels, which are unified by a rhodesian mahogany floor reclaimed from Hove Bus Station. The attic is conceived as a north-lit studio, while calm bedroom suites are arranged on the first floor. To the rear an expansive suite combines spaces for sleeping, bathing, dressing and contemplation. A panelled wall slides on cast iron to one side to define or amalgamate the bedroom and bathroom spaces. Expansive, bright circulations are designed to display art and family objects, or for occupants to enjoy moments of pause.
Photography: Keith Collie & Jo Willis · Model Photos: Sam Grady