Putting technology to work
The extension was designed and built to minimise its carbon footprint. We specified and installed the latest sustainable technologies, including a ground-source heat pump to provide heating and hot water, a rainwater harvesting system to provide water for the garden, an unobtrusive photovoltaic slate system to produce electricity, and a sedum roof to reduce rainwater run-off and flood risk.
Lighting was a central element of the design brief. Inside, we created an atmospheric scheme based on a combination of decorative, sculptural pendants and concealed hi-tech LED lighting. The exterior lighting scheme was carefully integrated into the landscape design, highlighting the courtyard and the textured masonry walls to great effect.
The project began with a huge dig-out to keep the extension roof below the level of the historic barn. The courtyard garden was surrounded by an original flint wall; we used modern gabions filled with limestone as a contemporary take on this vernacular style. The koi carp pond was positioned so the sound of running water would be audible inside the house, creating a calming background sound; reflections from the water play on the internal walls and ceilings when the sun comes out.
We planted four white Himalayan birch trees to mark out the external dining area; simple prairie-grass borders give height and movement all year. The porcelain tiles in the glazed entrance were laid from inside to out, creating a contemporary platform and blurring the boundary between the two areas.