'Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.'
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Newbuild residence - near Sheffield, South Yorkshire - 2005

SUMMARY: A contemporary newbuild four-bedroomed family residence on a gently sloping site in a village near Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

DETAIL: Our client initially approached us to discuss plans for the refurbishment of and a sizeable extension to an existing bungalow on the site, but it was eventually felt after much discussion that a new house on the site would offer considerable advantages, not least that of not paying VAT on elements of refurbishment to the existing structure. 

The plan is a direct response to the site, which has open views downhill to the East, close neighbours to the South and North, but a relatively clear West elevation albeit with the main road on that side. The house therefore looks East over its own garden as its primary focus, but it also opens up a little to the West for low beams of evening sun. The South and North elevations are subdued due to the proximity of neighbours (and the possibility of overlooking issues) on those sides.

The East-West axis of the house contains the primary reception rooms - the main Lounge and a large Entrance Hall. Each of these spaces is contiguous with the other and separated only by short flights of steps and a large central chimney stack. To each end of these contiguous reception rooms is a large bay window - one facing East and one facing West. Each reception room is overlooked by galleries attached to the first floor landing. The tall bay windows allow sunlight to slant deep into the centre of the house whilst offering long views to the landscape to the East and West from everywhere inside. Reflecting pools are to be drawn up against the house on the East and West elevations to reflect dappled patterns of sunlight into the interior and provide rudimentary cooling in summer.

The main house completion by our client using self-build and managed subcontractors was achieved in 2005. Construction of terraces, pools and a garage/studio block is to follow.

Although not constructed under our direction our client followed the design closely and achieved exceptionally high quality finishes using a 'managed subbies' delivery method with the help of an experienced site manager. Carden King provided all design services up to and including Building Regulations drawings, and supplied details for such items as the staircase, gallery ballustrades and chimney stack subsequently.

After the project was complete our client asked us to design a small garage and office block to be located in front of the main house. A small garage block had always been contemplated there, but the office was added to this brief. We submitted three sketch proposals for this block, our favourite of which, containing a studio 'tower' is shown in the illustrations. Our client built one of our other options, but the possibility of adding the tower later will always be there!

Detail of the East Bay. The detailing of the gutters and downspouts was carefully managed to keep the roof eaves and soffit visually 'clean'.
Ground Floor plan. The house has a staircase and large fireplace at its heart. The entrance is located inconspicuously off-centre and the entrance route is deliberately baffled.
First Floor plan. The tall bays to the East and West elevations were designed to allow low morning and evening sun to penetrate to the heart of the house.
3D CAD model: Aerial view from Southwest. Considerable effort was made to keep the roofscape 'clean'. All venting was led to the chimney stack.
East Elevation photograph. The roofs were broken up and set at different levels to create a less intimidating elevation on this, the 'tall' downhill side of the house. No less than four different roof levels are used here to break up the mass of the build
The pagoda-like 'flying eaves' effect of the cascading rear elevation rooves. The flattening-off of the eaves near the gutters was a client innovation that seems to accentuate the soaring effect.
3D CAD model: This image shows a section through the First Floor gallery ballustrade. This ballustrade was designed to facilitate the display of carpets or tapestries.
Gallery ballustrade as built, showing execution of the carpet/tapestry display detail shown above.
Detail of staircase. All woodwork was beautifully executed in Ash.
3D CAD model: Aerial view of one Garage/Studio extension option. This option has a two-storey Studio/Guest room structure fronting the garage, with its galleried bay facing the road entrance being an echo of the main house's front bay.
Eye-level view of the house and Studio/Garage from the entrance. The double-garage door, so often an eyesore on new houses, is here hidden from view to the side of the Studio.
Aerial view from the West. The elements of the House and Studio/Garage were intended to present a varied and broken-up but unified architectural grouping.