House that turned itself back to front

May 7, 2019

Location: Clayton, West Sussex

Work carried-out: A Planning Application was submitted for an extensive remodeling and enlargement scheme of the property which is in the South Downs National Park.

Project description: This semi-detached property was originally a detached house   Later another house was abutted to it.   Originally the front of the house faced West to Underhill Lane, but more recently with the ownership of cars and their use to reach adjacent bigger villages and towns, the rear access which faced East incorporated a yard and garage for car parking effectively became the new front of the property, but it looked very unprepossessing and unwelcoming with two flats roofed parts. Of course these spaces were for utilitarian use by staff originally and so no special architectural consideration was made.   The interior was a jumble of cellular rooms on the Ground Floor which certainly did not connect well – there was no flow and daylight was in short supply.

The main issues needing resolution were how to:

  • make a welcoming approach from the car parking area
  • make the East facing Bedroom at First Floor level bigger with an En-Suite
  • retain a reasonable sized Family Bathroom
  • create a top floor Master Bedroom Suite.


The solution drew on the use of a Palladian window pattern well-loved in rural properties over past centuries of the semi-circular window which sits so well under a gable.   The volume of the property was increased by bringing the First Floor and pitched roof profiled loft through to align with the Ground Floor East Elevation.   Such a strong feature demands symmetry which was achieved by centralizing the new front door approached by a new path and leading into a new Lobby.   The windows are arrayed to respond to this.

The Ground Floor was opened-up to create a free-flowing space which was much lighter and connected.   The First Floor issues were all resolved and the bonus was a large and characterful Master Bedroom suite under the roof.   Shutters have been used for privacy, but they also create a very restful daytime ambience.   Other smaller changes occurred throughout the property and the Contractor and Clients worked closely to complete the project to a very high standard.

There are two bat roosts on each gable – tenants awaited!

The warmth of welcome of the house now matches the family whose home It is.

Judges comments “Clever use of space. Design enhanced front elevation. Second Floor a triumph.”

Contractor: Coastal Building Services


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