Three carefully composed timber and zinc forms sit within a linear arrangement of existing cottages perched along the shore of a small inlet.
The constrained site originally featured a house abandoned during construction some years ago. After exploring options for reuse, it was decided to demolish and construct a new, modest property better suited to the context, climate and modern thermal performance. Masonry from the demolition was used on site for re-grading and where possible existing materials were re-used locally.
The house is comprised of two interconnecting volumes, one with the main living, dining and kitchen area looking out to sea, and the second containing three bedrooms with bathrooms, a small study and utility. The ‘slipped’ configuration of the volumes creates a naturally sheltered entrance courtyard from the road.
The main living space features a Douglas Fir structural frame by Carpenter Oak, constructed using traditional mortice and tenon pegged connections, designed with no structural steel. This lends the space a tactile, acoustically intimate quality, and the structural bays naturally split what is a generous space into discrete zones for living, dining and a beautiful bespoke kitchen by Alastair Letch Woodwork. In this way the main space is large enough for a full family gathering but can also be inhabited comfortably by one or two people. Cupboards and bookshelves built into the flanking walls animate the space and provide practical storage. A cabin set back from the track completes the site accommodation and with its own bathroom facility can be used by guests.
The house features a breathable wood fibre insulated timber frame over-clad with standing seam zinc on diagonal sarking boards in the upper sections and horizontal shiplap larch cladding along the lower section. The larch has been left to silver naturally, to eventually complement the zinc in colour. Glazed areas are carefully orientated to maximise solar gain as well as view. House and cabin are heated sustainably by an air source heat pump. Super insulated but breathable wood fibre insulation construction conserves as much heat as possible and maintains internal air quality for users. Added challenges presented by the hugely variable local weather and marine environment require a robust approach to detailing and specification, leading to a subtly oversized aesthetic; deep window reveals, volumes overhanging to form sheltered areas and expressed timber frame speak of this solidity and comfort.