Strap yourself in for our
jet-propelled new issue.
Soft landing guaranteed
By Jonathan Bell
This modest addition to the South London suburb of Blackheath wears its hand-crafted nature on its sleeve. The t-shaped Flint House sits astride its double-width plot, a replacement for the 1950s cottage that once stood here. The new house's façade mixes timber cladding with a flint wall, hence the name, a pleasing combination of natural materials that has been enhanced by the careful planning of every last detail.
Architect Nick Willson describes this as a 'completely bespoke home,' and there are few areas of the structure that are unique creations. The joinery, lead cladding and flint wall all required specialist trades, while elsewhere there are unique doors, windows, kitchen joinery and dining room table, together with custom door-handles throughout. Unique integrated baby-gates swing open and fold flush with the balustrade of the tongue and groove on the stairwell.
From the outset, the clients were keen to avoid the creation of 'just another glass box,' yet despite the extensive use of vernacular cues, from the pitched roof to the traditional materials, the house still has a crisp contemporary feel. The architects are keen to point out that this is also a highly insulated, ultra sustainable house, with an English oak timber frame as its core and thick walls and floors to keep heat in.
The layout is conventional but deftly articulated, with the functional spaces contained in the southern half of the ground floor, allowing the northern half of the building to be given over entirely to living, dining and kitchen, with extensive glazing opening out onto a deck and the garden beyond. The generous circulation space on the first floor landing doubles up as a library and there are three bedrooms and a study, with the master suite taking up the entire east 'wing' of the house. A north-facing evening deck opens off the study and master bedroom, with steps down directly into the garden.
A green sedum roof, natural ventilation and thermal solar panels boost the house's green credentials, while the extensive use of roof lights make the interior as bright as possible. Special care was taken to make sure every window had a view out onto green space, making the interior spaces feel unusually bucolic for south London.
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