Georgian Farmhouse in Berkshire
A large private site set within the Green Belt and surrounded by woodland, Winterbrook was occupied by a modest 1970s house in a poor state of repair and of no significant architectural interest. The garden too has been largely neglected and is currently little more than a field. Our task was to create a home and gardens worthy of falling in love with, and in doing so, to maximise the value of a private and salubrious site close to London.
Due to the large level plot, the house could be placed in the centre of the site without compromising the rear garden. A gap in the high, dense hedges which line the road provides a tantalising and carefully composed view of a grand symmetrical house at the end of a straight tree-lined driveway. This formal axial approach gives the proposal great presence and romantically frames the new building in its landscape.
At the centre of this picture is a geometrically simple house articulated in a restrained form of classicism. The Doric order, although implicit in the proportions, is overtly expressed only in the front portico.
The simplicity of the overall-form is enriched by precise and subtle details, high-quality materials, and careful craftsmanship. Handmade bricks add warmth and texture to the elevations. Darker bricks are used for rubbed arches, window surrounds, quoins, and a string course.
The side wing, a less-formal single-storey building, has been designed to reference the local vernacular. Casement windows are set into walls of red-brick and natural flint. Like the main house, eaves are flared.
A choreographed series of exterior spaces create different ‘garden-rooms’, each with its own character. Formal borders and high hedges continuously hide and reveal views, and create a mixture of private, sheltered spaces and open vistas. The drama of the axial driveway to the front finds its equivalent at the rear in the form of a long linear reflecting pool. This elegantly exaggerates the symmetrical hierarchy of the house whilst bringing light and tranquillity into the gardens.
The grounds include a garage block, tennis court, and swimming pool, all integrated appropriately through careful landscaping.