homify 360°: summer house in Blackheath

James Rippon James Rippon
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In the design of any new building or structure, the existing landscape and surrounds must be always be taken into consideration. This certainly goes for a summer house, too. Located in Blackheath in south London lies this wonderful summer house, located on the grounds of a listed home. Forming part of the Blackheath conservation area, the site of matured trees and irregular grounds provide a rich context for the new structure, which has been designed to effortlessly merge the occupants with nature, both physically and figuratively. A creation of Fraser Brown Mackenna, built with the help of Ecoism and Built Engineers, the quaint summer house offers a personal retreat for the owners of the home, right in the heart of south London.

Blending in

The small yet spacious house belongs to a pair of renowned artists, whose brief was to work around the existing landscape and mature planting, with the resulting structure tucked into a corner of the grounds, with a west-facing aspect to maximise sunlight.

Two interconnected volumes

The new building is formed by two interconnected volumes, both unique, yet completely complementary to each other. A more solid form hangs over the sloped section of the site, with slot windows providing a view of the surrounding landscape. Here, copper panels have been painted by the artists, which are said to respond to rainfall and changing weather conditions. The second, more open volume, links the occupants to nature outside, with bi-folding doors opening the interior onto a timber deck.

West facing for natural light

The west-facing aspect of the new house ensures maximum daylight can be enjoyed throughout the summer months. With the bi-fold doors pushed right back, a distinction between the outdoors and indoors can still be made with the contrasting tones of timber—dark stain for the interior, and a more natural finish for the decking.

Never forgetting nature

So as not to interrupt the beautiful natural surrounds that encompass the building, plain white walls have been chosen, letting the windows frame the landscape. Being artists, the owners chose 3 large flame tree inspired pieces to also be a focal point of the interior.

Minimal interior

An otherwise minimal interior keeps things sophisticated and simple, with a fireplace also incorporated to ensure use of the summer house can last well into latter part of the year. The irregular shape of the structure is evidenced through the use of the two volumes bought together as one, creating two distinct, yet connected spaces inside.

Lighting concepts

Recessed lights hide in the cornices, while a rug with a design resembling shadows lays underfoot. Clerestory windows also feature, ensuring natural light can enter from all angles throughout the day. 

Timber cladding

Reflective of the natural setting, timber cladding has been used for the exterior façade, in the aim to bring the man-made structure closer to nature. Occupying only a corner of the grounds ensures the new summer house does not disrupt the environment on which it sits, allowing the owners to still enjoy the expansive garden they have been afforded.

Want to see another different, yet equally as stunning small building? Then take a look at the Danish deigned Vipp Shelter.

How would you design your dream summer house? Let us know in the comments.
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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