The brief for this replacement dwelling, on a site near Rock in Cornwall, was to provide a site-specific and bespoke design tailored to the client’s needs without compromising on energy efficiency. With panoramic views over the Camel Estuary and to the countryside beyond, it was important to open up the living space to capitalise on this vista.

The site was originally home to a 1980s bungalow and the proposed ground floor level was matched to the existing dwelling, along with flat green roofs, giving the opportunity to conceal and blend the new design into the landscape, both from the elevated adjacent road and from the southern aspect across the river Camel. In order that the building was in keeping and sympathetic to the agricultural setting, a design with a low-key appearance was chosen using rural materials externally.

A driveway was created that opened into a central hub and internal courtyard space, from which all living and sleeping spaces could be accessed with an additional rear private evening terrace, protected on three sides from the prevailing winds. The open plan living space was designed so that it could be divided as desired with mobile partitions to suit any occasion.

Low carbon, sustainable building materials were used throughout the project where possible and the project used a restrained pallet of natural materials externally, predominantly dark stained vertical larch timber cladding with contrasting areas of un-treated horizontal larch. This mix of two finishes to a single material, kept the architectural language simple with a nod to the agricultural landscape character.

In order that the owner could fully appreciate an active Cornish lifestyle, an insulated workshop for hobby equipment and a surfboard store with covered access from the dwelling was included. Waterhouse has completely transformed the lives of its owner: “The whole project has been a complete success. At all times, through both design and build, the team has been a pleasure to work with and we now have an amazing, future proof house. Highly recommended.“

By opening up the building to its beautiful estuary setting and creating seamless transitions between the inside and outside, Waterhouse is a light-filled, spacious, low-energy modern family home better that connects with its location and fulfils the ethos of a lifetime home.