Astley Castle originally served as the royal family’s fortified manor for three generations before being turned into a hotel in World War 2 in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, United Kingdom. After years of abandon, it became a ruined curiosity for those who knew of its location, serving as an unofficial impromptu venue for a range of activities until The Landmark Trust – a building preservation charity – proposed to restore the structure. They hosted a competition inviting architects to submit their ideas for the renovation of the residence and accompanying mote, entry gateway, curtain walls, lake, church, and vestiges of Elizabethan pleasure gardens. London-based Witherford Watson Mann Architects were chosen to carry out the project, breathing a new life into the ancient construction. The design tackled big questions regarding renovations, especially given a project of this scale: what will the relationship be between the old and new, and how can the new structure fortify the collapsing edifice?
The design strategy aimed to reoccupy the old residence, to re-institute the spaces as they had historically been used, retaining as much of the original feel of the space as possible. Brick became the material of choice for the intervention as it matched the idea of the first construction but retained a visually evident difference. it also allowed the new construction to transition into the old masonry elements following the uneven joints created by the dilapidated walls. Construction crew worked hand in hand with archaeologists to excavate the site in preparation for the insertion of new materials. Large concrete lintels and other larger structural members had to be craned in from outside the mote, which also complicated the construction process. Cintec ties were used to strengthen existing walls without adding any visible structure with a process that includes drilling holes into the partitions and filling them with a steel rod and expanding cementitious grout.
The site is owned by The Landmark Trust and its holiday accommodation can be booked at a rate of $1,015.00, for four nights sleeping up to eight people.
Photos: Courtesy of The Landmark Trust
Little Venice House was designed for a family of four by Andy Martin Architect in Little Venice, West London, England. Warren and Claire Johnson live in Little Venice with their two young boys Charlie, three, and Jake, two. Their apartment is set on the ground floor of grade I listed mansion terrace overlooking one of London’s most beautiful garden squares. With ceilings reaching 4.5 meters, the space has been designed and converted to suit their busy work and family lifestyle. The architects were appointed to help achieve this.
Private rooms moved to the north and public living spaces to the south overlooking the gardens. Every area has been remodeled to offer abundant storage and walls purposely left free to offer space for their expanding art collection. Existing details were removed from doors and walls and reinstated the moulded ceilings and parquet flooring. New elements are made obvious by the use of color or texture, and are designed more like interventions.
Manor House Stables was once a stable that housed a retired racehorse named “Lovely Cottage” in Headbourne Worthy, Winchester, United Kingdom. The stables were once beautiful and functioning but have since the mid 1900’s have remained unused and have fallen into shambles. Since the stable block is steeped in historical character, it has since been transformed into an elegant and contemporary three bedroom family home by AR Design Studio. The concept was to preserve the existing while making any new additions simple and pure in order to let the original character shine.
This results in an innovative arrangement of spaces according to the Stable’s existing layout, in order to maintain many of the existing exposed timber interior walls. These were then cleaned, stripped back and refurbished to reveal an exquisite amount of detailing and craftsmanship. With the existing internal walls brought back to life, the next task was to turn the Stables into a home for the modern family and bring it into the present day. In order to respect the character of the property a clean, contemporary and neutral approach was taken to the rest of the renovation which juxtaposes perfectly with the original timber walls, allowing them to stand out as pieces of art against a beautifully simple contemporary backdrop.
Many of the existing features were refurbished and re-purposed for use in the home environment; the original horse troughs were cleaned and converted for use as sink basins, the old horse ties act as towel rings in the bathrooms and original doors are preserved where possible to give a sense of real period character. The Stables benefit from three large double bedrooms, with two en-suite rooms to accompany a spacious family bathroom.
Being a single storey property with long continuous views, the layout was tailored and split between sleeping and living accommodation with a single constant circulation running through the entire building. The welcoming and spacious open-plan kitchen dining area is conveniently located at the heart of the home, leading into the light and roomy lounge which benefits from full height glazed doors that open out onto the sleepy village setting.
The entire property is super insulated, and the heated polished concrete floor throughout provides a functional uniformity to the spaces as well as recounting the Stable’s agricultural history. New windows and roof lights fitted throughout give the whole place a warm, bright and clean feel; creating an excellent environment as a backdrop for a family home.
The finished Stables is completely transformed from its existing dilapidated condition and is now a perfectly working family home, bursting with contemporary style juxtaposed against delightful period character.
Prior to the Renovation:
Photos: Martin Gardner
This stunning Victorian flat in Notting Hill, London was designed by interior designer Katrina Phillips and her assistant Georgiana Huddart. The owner is a movie producer who chose to purchase the home to share with his wife and daughter as a vacation getaway. The Victorian facade gives way to the interior with a cozy and quiet elegance. The deep respect to the architectural heritage, the history and aesthetics of the building, guided throughout the project, but distribution, setting and treatment of the spaces start from a contemporary concept.
They selected the latest technology for comfort and safety, and a deliciously timeless style. In addition, an interesting work of research was conducted for each space: choice of colors, fabrics, furniture, decorative objects, nothing was left to chance. For example, they decided on a color palette of stone, ivory, antique gold, oxide red, ocher, which was the advice of an expert in historical painting. The treatment of light and colors was inspired by those used by the Italian painter Caravaggio and also the work of the master of the modern decor, the Belgian Axel Vervoordt.
Blake House is a spectacular property in London, England that boasts a spacious open floor plan, high ceilings and bright spaces. With a loft-like feel, the apartment features a master bedroom retreat with a staircase that leads down into the voluminous space, with a two-story ceiling height, en-suite bathroom, and private home office. The apartment is perfect for entertaining, with a wall of glass paned windows that separates the living room from the fully equipped kitchen with breakfast nook. The home is decorated with a predominately neutral color palette with bold pops of red color scattered throughout.
Enjoy this inspirational home and be sure to leave us a comment of what you think of the decor!
Photos: Courtesy of 1st Option
Meadowview house, designed by Platform 5 Architects, is situated on the edge of a ribbon development village in rural Bedfordshire, United Kingdom and is surrounded by mature trees, hedgerows and arable fields. The first floor, clad in sweet chestnut, overhangs a solid masonry and glass plinth; from across the fields, it looks like it is floating over the hedgerows. Internally, the living spaces are arranged to relate to different garden spaces and the wider landscape. The house incorporates sustainable technologies such as rainwater recycling, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery and photovoltaics on the roof. The landscaping forms a transition between the domestic and agricultural environments.
The sweet chestnut clad box overhangs the ground floor so that from across the fields it looks like it is floating over the hedgerows. The deep recessed balcony acts like a lens hood, framing sunsets over the countryside.
A meandering route through the house creates a sequence of gradually more private internal and external spaces. The entrance hall offers visitors views straight through the house to the pavilion in the back garden whilst screening off the living areas. As you progress though the ground floor, the space expands into a double height living room that is overlooked by the first floor study. From the living room, you can gain access to the courtyard garden where more delicate plants can grow protected from the wind and cold.
To the rear of the house, swathes of long grasses and meadow flowers are animated by the breeze giving the terrace a wharf-like feel. An area of the garden is given over to food production in raised beds, providing all of the household’s fruit and veg over the summer months.
The concept of a hovering building is continued into the details of the ash tread stair that is cantilevered off the wall in the entrance hall.
The house is well insulated, fitted with photovoltaic panles and also incorporates mechanical ventilation with heat recovery to reduce heat losses whilst a rainwater harvesting tank supplies water to the WC’s and the garden irrigation system.
Photos: Courtesy of Platform 5 Architects
Stillwater is a contemporary villa discovered on Savills, which is set in a remarkable position perched over a small private loch, with just over 6 acres of mature grounds and formal gardens on the edge of Killearn, a charming village in West Stirlingshire, Glasgow. It was designed by McInnes Gardner Architects and was completed in 2006, receiving recent acclaim on the television show ‘Grand Designs’. Formed over two levels and built under a slate roof, this innovative contemporary 3,453 square foot home cleverly marries traditional materials with new modern building technology. It is constructed to a specification rarely seen in this country. It features floor to ceiling glass in the main apartments and a terrace which cleverly wraps itself around the ground floor.
The kitchen is designed and manufactured in Germany by FORMAT. The mood lighting system allows for programmable sequences through the home whilst the integral sound system allows for music in the principal areas. Of particular note is the cantilevered glass staircase. Throughout the house there is polished American walnut flooring. The reception hallway is open plan with the dining area, kitchen and lounge. It has an innovative glass staircase with open risers ascending to the first floor. A change in level defines the dining area which has French doors opening to the terrace. Steps descend into the double height lounge which has a contemporary open fireplace and two sets of French doors opening to the terrace and the front garden.
This stunning property is listed for sale at $1,705,499, from here.
Steps descend from the kitchen into the sitting room which is separated from the kitchen by an impressive aquarium.
The sitting room has a free standing corner wood burning stove.
Upstairs are four bedrooms, three of which have en-suite bathrooms. The upper hallway has a gallery overlooking the reception hallway and drawing room. The master bedroom, with floor to ceiling glass wall overlookings the private loch.
There are two walk in dressing rooms and an en-suite bathroom which is semi open plan to the bedroom. It has a Jacuzzi whirlpool bath, wet room shower, twin glass wash hand basins, sauna and separate water closet.
Outside, Stilwater is equally as impressive, with a wraparound terrace at ground floor level and a substantial terrace off the master suite on the first floor. Electric gates open to the gravel driveway which sweeps towards the house and offers parking space for a number of cars. On either side of the driveway are beautiful manicured lawns.
Despite his lack of building experience or skills, owner Mark Collins converted a huge stone barn in the country into a warm and welcoming show-stopping home. Believed to date back to the early 18th century, this stone barn in England’s Cotswolds has been converted into a five-bedroom home with contemporary interiors, its own art gallery, gym, sauna and glass-encased spiral staircase. The whole scheme was dreamt up by Mark, who, without any design experience, worked with local builders and craftsmen. The barn is 50 meters long, comprised of 8,072 square feet (750 square meters) of living space and an additional 2,691 square feet (250 square meters) in the basement level.
The barn was purchased back in 2004 and had planning permission to split the building into two uses, one part residential and the other for commercial purposes (for office space). Mark, who is the director of a telecommunications company, saw the potential to turn this barn into a fabulous, large home combined with the character of its agricultural history and striking features and contemporary interiors. Taking five years to complete, 80 per cent of the building was taken away, the existing structure was underpinned and the whole roof was rebuilt, introducing a new oak structure supported by steel. Throughout the barn, Mark used a limited palette and natural materials of stone, oak, glass and steel.
The interiors were designed very open and functional, without subdividing it into a lot of rooms.
The ground floor includes two bedrooms, a day room, kitchen and dining room. There is an entertainment suite, studio, library and art gallery on the lower ground floor. The master bedroom, two further bedrooms and an office are on the first floor.
Photos: Smiths Gore
The existing dwelling in Chelsea, London has a deep and narrow floor plate, with daylight penetrating from the east and west. The proposed project by architecture firm Elips Design aimed to enhance the amount of natural light by investigating levels of transparency both vertical and horizontally, through a play of reflections and perspectives. That is the reason why the architects chose to build an extension in complete glass, and used stainless steel for the structure in order to have the reflection of the surrounding green landscape.
The depth of the 52 square meters building creates a visual connectivity between the living space and the external landscaping, whilst maximizing transparency and natural daylight. The choice open space, creating a sequence of distinct functional areas where it is dismantled the concept of “room” for a context of spatial fluidity. The service areas including toilet and laundry cupboard are all together. The dining area is planned in the basement, along with the kitchen area, while the ground floor is dedicated to the living room and a library room.
The creation of a core services behind the kitchen frees up the stairs by expanding existing wardrobes across wide spaces and create a space for living adjacent to the well-being. The bedrooms, on the three floors below, maximizes the use of space with bespoke furnishings and creates contemporary yet cozy rooms.
Kensington Residence is situated with a Royal Borough conservation area in London, designed by Studio Seilern Architects. This project rebuilds and combines two twin Victorian terrace houses behind historic facades to create one large family dwelling. The goal was to present a modern interpretation of a traditional Kensington abode.
The house comprises of one main body of three stories to the street and a two-storey extension to the rear garden. Elements of the existing fabric were of architectural merit and contributed to the conservation area. As a result, the main facade and building height were retained, with refurbishment the external finishes; London stock for the main body and white render for the extension.
Two separate rear extensions were demolished to allow for construction of a large, more practical and lit living area, with a triple height open space around the stairwell. The architects created an open plan and an open staircase allowing the 2,906 square foot (270 square meters) space to feel larger than it actually is.
From the main entrance, a corridor leads to the open living room with two glass conservatories, each under a single pane of glass, that face onto the rear garden. Large glass doors swivel outward to make a continuous open space between the living room, kitchen and garden terrace. A pared-down, minimal aesthetic was adopted for the garden, while still retaining a quintessentially English character.
At the core of the building, a sculptural spiral steel staircase visually connects all three levels. The leather stair covering and handrails are warm to the touch and absorb both sound and vibrations. Light falls dramatically around the stair from a skylight above, that opens hydraulically to facilitate natural ventilation throughout the building.