A New Life for Little England Farm

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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If you sit down and try to picture a farmhouse we think we can guess what you can see in your mind's eye. There will be cobbled stones, rustic kitchens and maybe even a tractor parked outside. However, the house we bring you today couldn't be further from that if it tried.

BBM Sustainable Design were commissioned in 2008 to propose a sustainable master plan for a country estate in East Sussex. Our client wanted us to consider the viability of developing a derelict 1940’s dairy, retrofitting and extending a 1970’s house and a 19th Century Oast House situated next to each other. Working with Studio Engleback, who produced a parallel strategy for the surrounding landscape, the challenge was to create a low energy development from a brief that is traditionally extremely energy hungry, i.e. a new heated swimming pool with steam room and sauna, an external ‘natural pool’, and a high specification country house set in 275 acres of Wealden countryside that includes a lake and 150 acres of standing coppice woodland.’

A house with all mod-cons and a small energy footprint in a rural setting. Now, that is a challenge but it's one that was not only accepted but also graciously met in full by the design team.

Come take a look, you'll be astounded!

Stunning good looks

Call us cynical but we don't remember farmhouses ever looking like this before. We have to say it's a welcome evolution though! Just look at all the incredible detail, amazing lines and stupendous styling at play. You don't even miss the tractor driveway ornaments, do you?

In a bold move the render has been painted black instead of the more common white but we think it really adds new depth to the rich wooden cladding. This is a house that really means business and with fantastic glazing at every turn, you could easily watch your flock from here.

Gorgeous grounds

With grounds as spacious, beautiful and picturesque as this, we think you would forgive almost anything being built on them but when you see how perfectly this farmhouse blends in with the background, you get a sense of just what an integrated design this is.

The wood will age naturally, helping to camouflage the house a little more in the future but by staying below the canopy line, it is already making a sensitive attempt to not overshadow the natural beauty of the surroundings and with the wonderful lake in place, you almost get two houses for the price of one thanks to the reflection!

Blended design

We think we can see some slightly more industrial and agricultural elements creeping into the design now that we have come a little closer. Don't you think this metal veranda cover is reminiscent of cattle grids? What a fantastic way to never forget the actual roots of the home, even in the face of breathtaking design and stylish finishes.

We love the plethora of wood in place, which is making such effortless work of warming the entire property up. It takes a special design to not allow metal to make a home feel too cold or commercial and this is one such project.

Perfectly pared back

So this might not be the traditional rustic kitchen table that you would naturally picture being in place in a farmhouse. However, there are comparative similarities, such as the long, rectangular dimensions and really sociable nature of the design and the dining room as a whole.

Taking traditional styles and turning them on their head, this house is a real enigma. You can't deny that it is stunning and has a certain flavour that alludes to farmhouses that we recognise whilst managing to be so exceptionally modern and chic that the connection is almost unwilling.

Killer kitchen

Wow! Although the house has clearly not been decorated fully yet we can tell already that this is going to be an absolutely stellar kitchen that invokes a lot of jealousy, as well as inspiration. What we love the most is how it perfectly mirrors the exterior of the house itself.

With a black worktop contrasting with paler wood, this kitchen emulates the exterior styling and draws it inside to create a fully cohesive and wonderful home. There is almost something a little Scandinavian or retro about this space and we love how the spirit of the house is so free flowing and constantly evolving.

A little luxury

As we noted in the introduction, this is not a farmhouse like any other, which is in part because of the inclusion of a heated pool, steam room and sauna. We have to say though, why not? If you have the means and the space to add some personal indulgences, shouldn't you? This is a dream home, after all!

We love how peaceful this spot is, allowing for quiet relaxation and calm consideration. Even the most hard working farmers need a little 'me time', you know! Just never dare wear you wellies in here!

For more beautiful country builds, take a look at this Ideabook: A Suffolk New Build Home that Raises the Bar. This one also raises the bathroom style stakes!

Did you love the mix of traditional and heritage nods? How would you decorate the interiors? Share your thoughts, below...
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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