This family home marries natural materials with a sustainability focus

Woodlands, a five-bedroom family house, is built on the site of a 1920s chalet bungalow

House exterior
(Image credit: Tim Soar)

A family home located in the UK’s High Weald area of outstanding natural beauty takes inspiration from its environment, with a focus on natural materials and sustainability. Woodlands, in the East Sussex village of Wadhurst, rethinks the 1920s chalet bungalow originally on the site, building on the previously developed land of the original house. The semi-natural grass already present – with its potential for biodiversity enhancement – becomes a living part of the new development.

The five-bedroom home by Williams Griffiths Architects comprises an open layout, with interconnected living spaces offering extensive opportunities for a family to work and live in the space. The design considers the growing family’s immediate needs, with a choice of main and secondary entrances and a second kitchen presenting alternative living options for the future.

interior of natural family home by William Griffiths Architects in East Sussex

(Image credit: Tim Soar)

A focus on sustainable architecture is translated into a celebration of natural materials, including cross-laminated timber and natural fibre insulation. 

The sustainable focus continues with the roof, angled so as to manipulate rainwater to the ground water disposal network. The gutter-less surfaces, which are interconnected, add extra protection from the natural elements.

The new space works in harmony with the curves of the landscape, which is composed of the gently rolling field patterns of working farms and interspersed with ancient woodland and private dwellings. The house is divided into sections built on multi-levels and thus appears to sink unobtrusively into the surrounding landscape. Strategically placed glass offers panoramic views of both the East Sussex hills and Middle Wood’s ancient, replanted woodland, with a design which distances the house from traffic in the south.

Inside, bespoke joinery of cross-laminated timber is complemented by a natural aesthetic, with understated hues of paint and sealant finishes making a warm foil for a concrete floor.

Exterior of natural family home by William Griffiths Architects in East Sussex

(Image credit: Tim Soar)

Pale wood interior of Woodlands, a natural family home in East Sussex by William Griffiths Architects

(Image credit: Tim Soar)

Interior kitchen

(Image credit: Tim Soar)

Glass windows

(Image credit: Tim Soar)

Natural kitchen

(Image credit: Tim Soar)


Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels. 

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