Oak framed house

Hardington, Somerset

A previous and now demolished house had existed on this site. The earlier house and outbuildings were in a dilapidated condition with no architectural merit. The house and outbuildings were demolished and the site cleared in readiness for the new timber frame house.

O2i Design Consultants were commissioned to design a new home to sit comfortably on top of the hill, within the beautiful Somerset countryside. Great care was exercised in the design, to present a limited front elevation and to ensure that the house was not overly present in the landscape.

Our design team obtained planning permission for this new, large, detached single dwelling which occupies a unique elevated position with far reaching views.  The design is modern and simple, with large sections of glazing to maximise the countryside view.  The irregular plan shape and the site restrictions were used in the design to break up the elevation appearance, minimising the visual impact of the building.  The different and varied areas of cladding, together with simple glazed openings, were designed to break up the visual appearance, provide an interesting aesthetic and integrate the building into the landscape.  By using wood as a building and cladding material, which remains natural and unstained, the building has weathered to become part of the landscape.

The house is made up of a complex timber frame. The overall impression is that of a light building sitting comfortably within the landscape.

The interior layout is an “upside down” one, with bedrooms on the ground floor and reception rooms at first storey level, to maximise the far reaching view. With a ow pitch zinc roof, the new house does not exceed the height of the previous building . 

Consideration was given to sustainable, natural materials throughout and special attention paid to current government guidance for reducing energy use and carbon emissions with the aim of being carbon neutral or even better. 

Energy is generated on site using Photovoltaic cells positioned as part of the garage roof design and heating is via a ground source heat pump system. A wood burner, in conjunction with high levels of insulation ensures that the house kept warm when required.  This provides sufficient energy to minimise demands on external power and resources. Guttering, capturing rainwater is hidden on all elevations and this rainwater harvesting, together with all the other renewable technologies, enables the house to be largely self-sufficient. 

The Climate Change Officer for South Somerset said of the planning application

"This development will easily comply, is an exemplar of sustainable construction and just the type of application the council should encourage. The combination of excellent insulation, maximising solar gain, 6.48 kW of photovoltaic panels, heat pumps and log burner will effectively provide the majority of buildings energy requirement over the course of the year and there is the potential to be a net exporter of electricity. The house is future proofed in that the PV array is large enough to charge an electric car."

The overall design was to incorporate intelligent and interesting design with modern technology and natural materials in a sustainable building which works within its environment.

The beautiful timber frame was produced by Carpenter Oak.