Garden House, County Durham

Bespoke dwelling

We were appointed to design a new-build dwelling in a desireable county  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 – creating 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.