South Downs, West Sussex
A 400sqm house extension that’s four times the size of the Victorian gate lodge it adjoins, in the South Downs National Park. Its traditional ‘Sussex barn’ form is connected to the existing cottage via a glazed link, which appears to be peeled from the side of the barn. Black zinc cladding and large window openings are nods to the agricultural setting of the house, while its brickwork plinth has been painstakingly and beautifully handcrafted with a contemporary twist on the traditional brick diaper pattern, commonly found in the local area. More than anything, however, this is a hard-working family home which manages to combine both ‘wow’ moments (views to the South Downs and the double height master suite) with everyday practicality (the double height drying space of the bedroom level laundry and enough sustainable technology to ensure the family won’t be paying to heat their home or hot water). On top of this, it has bucket loads of charm and personality. Various secret passageways and staircases mean you can pop through a bookcase on the ground floor and come out into the playroom on the top floor, ensuring the kids will be impossible to find before the school run. There’s also a pull-out stage in the playroom, complete with red velvet curtain, along with a James Bond-style escape pod in the roof for when it all gets too much. The property was completed in Summer 2016 and featured on Grand Designs in September 2016.