Our clients, Tony and Nicky, sold their country estate in Limpsfield, and purchased a one and half acre plot in Oxted with a view to knocking down the existing dilapidated pre-fab bungalow and building in its place a new ultra-contemporary sustainable home. An exciting and ambitious project, our clients wanted to create a large flexible open living space with extensive glazing to make the most of the mature grounds and a feature swimming pool.
Tandridge Council had a long standing planning policy that new builds should match the traditional pitch-roofed houses which populate the area. However, the site is situated at the end of a private road and surrounded by mature trees which we used as an argument to justify what would be an unprecedented design. The council’s strict planning requirements also demanded that 12 percent of the energy required by the house would be provided through renewable energy sources.
Responding to the brief we developed the design to work with the sloping topography of the site and make full use of the screening provided by the mature trees. Comprising three storeys, the house is approached at the lower ground floor level where a stepped promenade leads to the front entrance at ground floor level. Here the main living spaces are arranged around a generous entrance hall and large sliding walls disappear into pockets to allow the living, dining and reception rooms to become one open plan space perfect for hosting parties. A structural glass bay window on the north facade provides views back to the entrance gates and arriving visitors, whilst structural glass walls to the south and west provide panoramic views of the grounds and inviting glass fronted swimming pool.
The lower ground and first floors are accessed via a feature engineered timber and glass stair and accommodates six bedrooms including a luxurious master suite with its own dressing room and private balcony overlooking the pool and grounds. A large roof terrace to the north of the first floor provides far-reaching views of the Surrey Downs beyond. During the design development the forms of the building were explored and explained to our clients using 3D modelling. We also secured the early appointment of the design team to ensure feasibility and provide regular costings as the design developed. This collaborative approach allowed an elegant structural design where the first floor appears to ‘hover’ over ground floor and cantilever out over the swimming pool. A services design was also prepared to meet the 12% renewable energy requirements. After three strategic planning applications, permission was granted in August 2010.
White Lodge took 46 weeks to build and was completed one month ahead of schedule in March 2012. Great emphasis was placed on constructing White Lodge as efficiently and sustainably as possible. It started with careful specification and detail design, and continued through construction with in depth workshops with the contractor throughout the construction process. The structure makes use of a hybrid steel frame, load-bearing masonry, prefabricated concrete ground floors, and FSC timber upper floors. It is clad with an advanced insulated render system with a high performance finish to minimise maintenance costs. This system also facilitated the intricate shadow gap detailing between ground and first floor levels and allowed a rationalised structural design. The large amounts of structural double glazing and aluminium sliding doors are high specification to minimise the potential heat loss. The heating system comprises an energy efficient gas boiler and underfloor heating system with solar hot water panels on the roof and an air source heat pump.
Tony and Nicky are delighted with their new home and almost a year after completion it continues to draw surprise and admiration from family, friends and visitors. Their home is everything they wished for and more. It has caught the eye of film location companies and has recently been featured in the Evening Standard as a ‘Modern Marvel.’