A home that offers a waterside setting is a dream situation for many – although examples abound where the opportunity to optimise the waterfront location has been missed during the original build process. This late-twentieth-century chalet bungalow was a case in point. A practical, if unexceptional, brick house dating from the 1980s, it was crying out for an extension that would root it more effectively in the landscape and provide a contemporary living space that would allow our clients to fully appreciate its remarkable outlook, while safeguarding a historical watercourse for generations to come.
Extending the house by creating a bold architectural statement – rather than mirroring the style of the existing building – was a key part of our client’s brief. The ideal garden room would offer a fresh perspective, providing a relaxing indoor-outdoor space designed to extend the property into the surrounding landscape, while leaving the site’s natural beauty undisturbed. Creating a room that made sense as an extension to the original accommodation, at the same time enabling a more logical connection with the garden and mill stream beyond was paramount.
Because of the home’s location on the banks of a mill stream, the overarching goal was to achieve our architectural vision while preserving the natural environment. The watercourse has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which required that any development plans met stringent Environment Agency regulations for its continued protection. From a design point of view, handling the transition between the old and new sections without compromising the bigger creative vision was essential to the project’s success.
Although the extension is modest in scale, it delivers a powerful design statement. This striking, unapologetically contemporary new wing makes the most of its setting. Anchored to the foundations of the existing house via a steel-framed platform, the garden room cantilevers over the riverbank, so it appears to float above the water and offers views upstream that can be enjoyed all year round. The simple, elegant lines of interior provide the perfect foil to the cedar-clad outer which incorporates a breakfast deck and is designed to weather into the landscape.