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Location: Hove, East Sussex

Work carried out: Negotiations with Planning Officers to maximize the use of the site whilst minimizing the impact on neighbours.

Project description: The clients had bought a dilapidated detached chalet bungalow and concrete panel garage on a large suburban site with the intention of building a new house in a modern contemporary style without being the modish slate with white render walls stereotype.    A Lodge was also requested for the garden as ancillary accommodation (for family use) which would echo the main house and at the same time provide some screening from and to the house to the rear.

The site had lateral and longitudinal falls and this had to be considered carefully in terms of the Lifetime Homes Standards for access which was a criteria at the time.

The design brief outlined that the new house should be a family home built to enhanced modern standards and levels of comfort; this lead us towards a house with an honest, modern look with solid eco credentials and would be part of the evolving face of modern suburban living. There was a considerable amount of interaction with the Planning Department, on some points of detail, but the main theme was accepted from the outset.

The house is set back on the front elevation to acknowledge the angle to the pavement and the plot as a whole. The garage is incorporated into the house.  The plan presents as two wings of accommodation set symmetrically about a 1m central axis which is expressed as a strong vertical element extending even to the front pedestrian gate. Amidst the symmetry of the composition is asymmetry in the projecting balcony from the First Floor Bedroom and the set-back. The path in the middle is exactly level to enable optimised access for those with mobility issues and to comply with the Lifetime homes criteria.

The roof and vertical finish at 2nd Floor level is of zinc which gives a crisp look to the design and integrates well with the rooflights and flues. The inclined jointing adds a quietly dynamic look to the façade and reflects the gable treatments in timber of so many of the mock-Tudor houses in the area. The render is protected by a small overhang to limit the effects of greening that is so common these days on unsheltered walls.

The rear elevation which faces West to take advantage of the view and the setting sun has a similar treatment with large concertina doors enabling the façade to be fully opened. The Lounge and Kitchen have small areas of flat roof behind parapets. The top floor Master Bedroom suite has glazed doors with a small balcony area recessed into the roof to protect the privacy of the family and the neighbours.

The staircase is a signature design feature which is as a dynamic feature in the core of the house and spill light down from above. The Kitchen and Lounge are merged with a TV Room attached. The level change breaks the height differential between the house and the garden. There is a ramped access to the rear garden via the south side.

The First Floor accommodation consists of Bedrooms and Bathrooms and related facilities.   The internalised Landing is lit from 3 directions. There is an axial view through the heart of the house which will be a strong feature.   The Second Floor is given over to the Master Bedroom Suite with generous Bathroom and Dressing Room and access to storage and heating, hot water and ventilation equipment.   There are solar panels on the South facing roof slope.

The house was built with a prefabricated SIPS panel system by Modular Air Space Systems of Fareham, Hants – in fact a combination of panels and whole sections which were delivered by low loader and lifted into position by crane onto a base prepared by the Main Contractor. We have used this system a number of times now.

Contractor: Jurial Construction Ltd , Worthing