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27th March 2012 / posted by PeteTonks

Rural Suffolk - The Larger Dwelling by Pete Tonks

The second and much larger dwelling on the rural Suffolk site - that I wrote about in the January Planning Consent Case - was a far more complex design process, as this was more personal to the clients and they wanted it positioned so that it straddled the first drop in levels. This is often a worrying prospect to some designers who may see it as a possible constraint but for me, it was music to my ears and I saw it as a complete opportunity!

Rural Suffolk - The Larger Dwelling by Pete Tonks

Pete’s elevation sketch of both dwellings on the Suffolk site

What this request basically allowed us to investigate was a dwelling which when viewed from the entrance driveway was a relatively simple looking and traditional single storey design with rooms in the roof-space but could then feature a whole floor below ground which normally would be a fully subterranean basement, but due to the drop in levels would have an open elevation aspect to the rear facing out to the woodland and reservoir.

Bearing in mind one of the conditions within the OPP stated that any designs on the plot must be “single storey, albeit with some room in the roof-space”, our clients were a little unsure as to my ambitious suggestions as to what would be a 3 storey building but they took me on trust and totally bought into the idea so we went with it. The design features a large entrance hall which is double height vaulted, vaulted kitchen/family/dining room, utility room, vaulted living room and study with adjacent wc/shower room. The attic floor features a guest bedroom with en-suite and the basement lower level features 2 bedroom suites with generous dressing rooms and bathrooms. Both of these bedrooms have direct access to the lower garden woodland level and have covered shading above by way of the projecting balconies that have been designed across the whole of the rear elevation. This is admittedly a complex design, but one that is going to be rewarding to live in and one that maximises its position on the plot in terms of natural solar gain and shading.

The large garage/outbuilding I previously mentioned was requested so as to accommodate the plant and machinery that would be required for the woodland management but also to house a biomass heating system which will provide heating for both of the houses, burning a combination of locally sourced wood pellets and natural sustainable fuel of logs from the woodland. I also designed this building as a T-shape configuration so that it incorporated a South facing roof for the accommodation of 18 solar PV panels which will provide electricity for both houses. This combination of bio-mass heating and solar PV is a good one to harness natural resources and reduce heating and electric bills significantly.

The oak frame swings into place…

Pete’s elevation sketch of both dwellings on the Suffolk site

Again – I would just like to thank John and Sue for the opportunity of working with them on this wonderful site.

Pete Tonks

NB - Should you like to come and have a sit down with Pete to discuss your oak frame architectural ideas – he will be holding court (along with other members of the Oakwrights Architectural Design Team) at the National Homebuilding & Renovation. For more information on how to book your free consultation – please click on the logo below:

The oak frame swings into place…




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