One of the first projects we undertook was an architecture and interiors commission to design a grand country home for a developer client.
The client owned a large plot of land that was surrounded by mature trees, and a large difference in level, of almost three metres from the north west to the south east part of the site. Our parti sketch, shown below, proposed that the new home be arranged in a ‘z’ form, to provide an entrance courtyard and a private, south facing courtyard. A key element of our approach was to bury part of the accommodation into the slope so that the main house would read as two storey plus roof accommodation from the street.
The sloping site aided our approach to separate the house into zones, with an area set aside for private family use, another for hosting parties and soirees, another for family and guest bedrooms and another for the master bedroom suite. The client regularly hosted parties for between 100 and 200 guests but was also very private and wanted the family accommodation to reflect this. Setting the private accommodation at the lowest level provided a natural separation.
The plans below illustrate the arrangement of spaces within, from left to right, lower ground, ground, first and second floors.
Discussions about materials and form were held from the very outset. The client wanted to use white limestone imported from Malta for use in an overtly structural and solid fashion. The design drew upon mansion architecture prevalent throughout the county and combined it with modern materials, such as the zinc roofing and bronzed aluminium doors and windows.
The section model below illustrates the change in levels and shows the grand escalier, set within a double height entrance hall and serving to maintain a visual, as well as a physical, link between the floors.
The interior design approach was one that we defined as ‘quietly elegant’ and responded to the client’s desire to provide a formal hosting area at ground floor, with reproductions of period cornice, picture rail, skirting, architraves and panelled doors and a more ascetic private area at lower ground, exhibiting a paired-down minimalism and utilising materials such as marble for the floor, that are more often seen in the client’s native country.
Key to the arrangement of the private area was an open plan approach that still provided legibility of different uses. The images below show how day room flows into dining area, and into kitchen, all with views of and links to the private courtyard and reflecting pool.
The private courtyard, complete with pool is overlooked by a ground floor terrace provided as break-out space from the entertaining rooms. The floor of the reflecting pool can raise or lower, to provide reflecting or swimming pools as required and in response to the seasons.
I hope my readers enjoyed this post and as always, I would be happy to address any queries or comments.