Garden House, County Durham

Bespoke dwelling

The house is designed to nestle within its surroundings, hunkered down below the walled garden of an eighteenth-century manor house.

The compact former tennis court site is submerged in a clearing of trees with only occasional outward views. Set some 2m above the nearby roadside, the house is designed to look inward – a quiet and peaceful retreat for its future occupants.

In order to respect the impressive setting, the proposed dwelling has been designed as a single storey house with carefully considered but wandering level changes. A direct response to our client, who ‘doesn’t want to live in a bungalow’.

The house sits between two worlds, jostling between the low-slung defensive nature of the partially collapsed stone wall and the former grandeur of the neighbouring property Рcreating intimate courtyards which allow privacy and dappled light which are perfect for entertaining and reflection.

The main living wing is a large open plan kitchen-dining-living space opening into the largest courtyard to create an inside-outside living experience. The more intimate ‘snug’ room sits beneath a vaulted top hat with a frameless central skylight, designed to maximise light throughout the day.