Designed for a couple of London-based fly-fishing enthusiasts seeking a weekend retreat in the English countryside, Mayfly Cottage is a new residential project by London-based architects Stiff + Trevillion.

MayFly Cottage

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The two-level, 310sq m house, created with traditional construction methods from the area, is the architects’ reinterpretation of a rural barn on the River Test in Hampshire. The new building sits on the grounds of a listed manor house, on a plot where an old cottage once served as ancillary accommodation.

’A sustainable approach was key,’ explains lead architect Chris Eaton. ’This was led by using a combination of local materials and tradesman and traditional construction methods in a contemporary fashion.’ The team also incorporated sustainable principals, such as ground source heat pumps, rainwater harvesting, high insulation levels and reclaimed materials, for a cottage designed to use sustainable resources - a rainwater harvesting and recycling system, and solar and photovoltaic cells - when it comes to energy needs and waste.

A spacious ground floor unites the kitchen, dining, living and TV areas in a bright, open space. A wooden staircase leads to the top level with its master bedroom, en suite bathroom and dressing area, plus three additional bedrooms and bathrooms. Though the architects designed all internal details, down to the joinery, the owners were heavily involved in every stage. Having worked with Stiff + Trevillion on two previous properties in Putney and Kensington, they had a solid relationship with the architects and remained a key part of the process.

Sticking to local techniques, environmentally friendly features and natural materials like handmade bricks and roof tiles, charred timber cladding and green oak for the frame, Stiff + Trevillion cleverly translated the barn’s vernacular typology to a space fit for 21st-century living.