We designed a low-energy, accessible property in Polzeath, and collaborated with Cornish holiday property rental company Latitude50 to offer it to visitors. Combining beauty with function, the property was created with sustainability in mind as a solution to the existing bungalow that once sat in its place.
We designed the new property, Turnstones, with a few different aims in mind. Firstly, we wanted to improve the wonderful views of Pentire Point in Polzeath for the neighbouring properties while creating privacy. It was also important for the property itself to be low-energy and sustainable with maximised views and vehicular parking. To tackle these aims, we used several different methods to keep the building in keeping with its surroundings, resulting in a striking yet sensitive contemporary design. The building appears as more of a landscape feature than an archetypical built house to ensure the height was no higher than the original bungalow. The wildflower carport at the front of the building also means wildflowers help to screen the properties opposite, while parked cars avoid obstructing sea views.
To fully maximise its space, we incorporated two levels where the property lowered, retaining the stunning view for neighbouring properties while increasing the house size. The roof in view of surrounding properties hides the rest of the house as well as ridges of houses below through its faceted upper triangular mono-pitched wildflower design. This concealed area of the house also functions as an external shower and wetsuit washing/hanging area with surfboard storage behind secret doors. Even the public entrance is discreet! We implemented a large frameless glass entrance door to further maximise the view, which is operated electronically. The construction of this stunning yet discreet dwelling was completed by our sister company, ADD Sustainable Construction, which guaranteed continuity in design and construction.
Beautiful inside and out
The property is just as beautiful inside as it is discreet on the outside. It was also designed with a visiting family in mind, so we were delighted to later collaborate with Cornish holiday property rental company Latitude50 to enable the letting of the property. The material palette is very simple, with western red cedar ceilings and soffits flowing seamlessly inside and out of the four-bedroom home. The generous eight-person dining area and open-plan lounge create a spacious yet welcoming area to relax and take in the expansive sea views. As supplementary heat is not required in the low-energy property, there is a digital flame fire as a focal point before you turn into the modest and understated kitchen complete with a separate pantry. Just in case you want to do some work at home, there is an accommodating printer and WIFI, and for those who just want to admire the views, they vary throughout the house, from the beautiful rear garden (designed using 3D and virtual reality to ensure optimal views from the hot tub!) to the stretching blue sea.
A key part of the design concept here was accessibility. While it wasn’t deemed necessary to make the whole building accessible due to its split-level design, collaborating with Latitude50 means we have been able to offer this home to families with wheelchair users. The main living area, master bedroom, en suite, terrace and garden are all accessible via wheelchair. All of the best views here are from a seating height, with a large frameless rooflight included in the living room! The main entrance also enables wheelchair access with a covered viewing area to take advantage of Polzeath’s sunsets, overlooking the wildflower carport.
As well as making Turnstones as accessible as possible, it was important that the property was also sustainable and low-energy. The existing building was damp, cold, expensive to run and built on a low budget which meant it interrupted the otherwise beautiful view for surrounding properties. Turnstones required a high-quality design strategy to solve the many previous issues. As with all our projects, we strived for the best standards, adopting house principles with a fabric-first approach: super insulation, airtight construction and triple-glazing. This began with careful consideration of window locations and sun screening to make sure the building didn’t overheat, while cross and stack ventilation meant the refreshing sea breeze from outside cooled the building. Considering the property’s coastal location, which can encounter severe weather conditions, we ensured airtight construction and robustness through its steelwork and posi joints. These span further than solid timber and use less timber.
To reduce the noise from a nearby public house, we installed triple-glazed windows and doors, which also help to minimise energy loss with their excellent u-value. The whole house ventilation system provides a constant healthy environment which moderates moisture, recovers heat and brings in clean sea air. The additional provision of underfloor heating via a ground source heat pump enables hot water throughout the property. The house requires minimal heating throughout the year and with a 6kW solar panel system being installed in the coming weeks, this will only improve the already low-energy building!
As mentioned, we are delighted to be collaborating with Latitude50 to let out this accessible, low-energy property in Polzeath. Latitude50 already has a plethora of properties in the area, but none quite like this. It gives visitors the chance to experience a beautifully designed, sustainable property for themselves. The interior was built around its stunning views so visitors can truly take in all Cornwall has to offer. Turnstone’s large windows provide the perfect viewing area to watch storms rolling in off the Atlantic or the summer sun sink below the horizon. We even created outside spaces under cover so everyone can spend time outside no matter the weather. To ensure the property had a beach feel, we worked with experienced interior designer, Sharon Binder of BinderClare Design. She worked hard to make sure the interior incorporated fun and class to appeal to the range of people who would let the property through Latitude50.