OAK BUILDING DESIGN CONCEPTS
So, following on from our first design meeting with the clients, Oakwrights and I established a written conceptual design brief to get the ball rolling in respect of design and planning related issues. I personally find that it is best to get an initial concept down on paper, no matter how loose it is, and then work through various aspect of this initial concept as phase one of the design process.
The plot did already have a full planning permission on it although we collectively agreed that the design was inappropriate and not what the clients were looking for. It was therefore my job to get back into dialogue with the planning authority ahead of our intended full submission so that we could do a pre-application presentation to outline the proposals. Most local authorities now charge for the pre-application service but I find that it is invaluable in securing the right planning permission, normally first time round.
The planning authority was Wealden District Council and I was introduced to the case officer from the previous application, a Mr Stacey Robbins. I mention him personally as he was a breath of fresh air to be honest and was entirely helpful throughout all of our communications. He commented that the pre-application we submitted was more detailed than most full applications that he gets to see and he knew exactly where we were heading with the project and gave his full support. After a series of further discussions and meetings, we made a number of very minor modifications and submitted the full planning application. This was approved within the 8 week deadline under delegated powers with a number of relatively simple conditions being attached to the permission.
My design for this house is classic East Sussex vernacular with a twist (well a few actually!). I have used local built forms such as steep roofs, slim line gables, and narrow windows and combined this with locally referenced building materials. These would include soft red clay plain tiles to the roof and some soft red/orange/black mix clay hanging tiles on elements of the external façade. This is further combined with complementing local brick mix laid in a Flemish bond using lime mortar and also deep section timber weatherboarding decorated in the signature local white.
THE OAK FRAME LAYOUT
The layout of the oak frame house is entirely bespoke to our clients and of course that slope. The ground floor is split into two levels so that upon entry (which is double height vaulted), you can go left into the open plan kitchen or right to the main hallway, storage zone and wc. However, the kitchen and hallway are open plan to the living room and dining room which are down on the level below. This will be a dramatic and exciting space and the impact of the split level will be amplified further by the fact that most of the rear wall that creates the backdrop to the space is glazed out to the rear garden and the views above the chapel to the tree lined horizon beyond. The living room and dining room will also have a ceiling height of around 3 metres which is really going to make this space work.
The first floor from my point of view was an absolute delight and I am still amazed that I managed to get into the design, 3 really good bedrooms each with their own en-suite, Bed 1 also has a good dressing room and there is a sitting landing space and of course the large gallery looking down into the entrance hall. I was really happy with the layout on both floors to be honest and the configuration I created provides good opportunities for the Oakwrights design office to put some nice framing ideas together.
Another one of Oakwrights partner designers, Darren Blackwell is actually building the house on behalf of my clients. Darren heads up his own design and build company Oakland Vale Ltd and has already built a number of very nice houses for other clients. I have no doubt that this one will be no different...
Should you wish to discuss design ideas for your project do not hesitate in contacting Oakwrights office to arrange an informal meeting with Pete Tonks.