A neoclassical, palladian style house, Alderley Edge


Dickens Farm is one of our most ambitious projects to date.  The site, in one of Cheshire’s most exclusive enclaves, was secured by our client who wished to build a new residence for a family member.  The original architect’s plans specified a property which did not promise the “wow” factor that was desired.  Our involvement early in the process allowed us to work closely with our client to understand his specific requirements and the plans we subsequently proposed offered a strikingly different concept.  The neoclassical, Palladian style house we outlined is the epitome of magnificence, delivering the landmark property our client sought.

The Brief

The brief was stunning in its simplicity of purpose – to create the “best” house in Cheshire.  How this was to be achieved did offer up a number of challenges.  The family member for whom the house was being built has a penchant for traditional features and styling, whilst our client himself covets clean, contemporary lines and sleek glazed elements.  Integration of these two styles was a key part of the brief and required significant lateral thinking as well as extensive creative and technical expertise to fulfil.


Details & Specific Points of Interest

Prior to submission of the planning application, our conceptual architecture team created detailed plans which included specifics of the external envelope of the building.  A stately façade boasts vast, classical proportions and a colonnaded entrance whilst, internally, meticulous attention to the space planning has resulted in an exemplary living experience.  Ultimately, permission was granted for a spectacular 17,000 square foot property with the accommodation to be laid over four floors.

Externally, an imposing driveway leads down to the property and arrives at a circular entrance positioned in front of the house.  The main door is flanked by magnificent stone columns and floor to ceiling glazed panels which allow light to flood in to the entrance hall beyond.  This is bordered on either side by twin boot rooms which can be accessed from outside via discreet side doors.  Internally leather clad walls mask secret doors to these more functional spaces ensuring that the aesthetic remains uncompromised.   The main foyer, which sits beyond the entrance is the cornerstone of the ground floor design with all the accommodation flowing from this central point.  A breath-taking circular cantilevered stone staircase sits in a central position and ascends seamlessly from the basement to the second floor.  A pendant light suspended from the roof cascades 10 metres through each floor to arrive in the hallway whilst glazed panels on either side of the staircase allow for an alluring view into the formal lounge.  From there floor to ceiling glazed bifolding doors offer a panoramic view of the gardens beyond.

Throughout the house, scale and proportion are exploited in perfect harmony whilst intricate details add a touch of the unexpected, delighting guests as they travel on a voyage of discovery through the space.  A glazed floor panel in one corner of the lounge offers a tantalising glimpse of the swimming pool below, whilst variations in floor and ceiling heights throughout the ground floor add to the sense of intrigue as one space flows into the next.

To one side of the lounge can be found the dining room, catering kitchen and a family snug.  In the opposite wing of the house, steps descend from the lounge into the day living area whilst the kitchen sits on a further raised level.  Traditionally designed combining elements of both New England and Georgian styling, the kitchen boasts two large islands and a stylish bifolding pantry unit which serves to hide the inner workings of the kitchen.  Elements in a high gloss stained oak offer a striking contrast against hand-painted cabinetry whilst striking pietra grey marble worktops, decorative mouldings, extravagant architraves and skirtings, illuminated ceiling coffers and pelmeted window treatments, grace the space with an overtly opulent feel.

Descending to the lower ground floor, the guest is immediately enveloped in a subterranean world which is dedicated to wellness and entertainment.  The intelligent use of a light well which runs in front of the house enables natural daylight to gently filter through glazed elements in the lower ground floor.  The focal point of the leisure space is the swimming pool which sits directly below the entrance foyer.  Illuminated steps descend from the spa into the pool whilst two bed decks with four poster day beds are positioned to take full advantage of the cinema screen which drops from its position within the ceiling.  Continuing the journey deeper into the space, steps on either side of the central staircase lead down to the sauna and steam rooms, both of which can be seen from above through glazed panels from the swimming pool.

The further extremities of the leisure space play host to additional accommodation including a gym, dance studio, cinema room and bar.  The bar space is designed with a heightened sense of drama, created by the backlit feature wine wall which ascends from the bar in the basement to the dining room above.  Open floor detailing with glass balustrades allows for uninterrupted views of this spectacular wine display from top to bottom.   A bespoke made circular bar is the focal point of the space whilst decorative coffered ceiling details artfully mirror its shape.  Handcrafted cabinetry with integrated illuminated bottle displays and statement pendant lighting complete the look.

The design scheme throughout the house draws on an alchemy of styles and periods all of which are underpinned by an overriding principle of unadulterated luxury.  The nine bathrooms in the property are a classic case in point.  Each one is designed individually in relation to their status in the house.  The walls in one are adorned with backlit precious stones for a decadent feel, whilst LED lighting wrapping the ceiling in another washes the light down the walls offering a supremely serene space.  The brief for the washroom in the entertainment area was to craft an experience that would add drama and leave an enduring impression.  We opted for a rainforest theme with an illuminated faux green living wall offering a spectacular backdrop to the freestanding vanity unit and floor to ceiling mirror.

Sitting directly above the entrance foyer, an imposing double height landing graces the first floor.  Double pivot doors reveal the master suite where a fully glazed wall offers spectacular views over the garden and countryside beyond. The bedroom is dominated by a magnificent four-poster bed and double height pendant light above.  Sweeping staircases to the second floor flank either side of the room.  Positioned beyond the staircase on one side is a dressing room whilst on the opposite side can be found the first of the master en suite bathrooms.  Offering a veritable enclave of luxury and indulgence, this space is dressed with bespoke cabinetry bedecked with precious stones which adorn every surface.  The focal point in the room is a circular solid stone bath which sits atop a pedestal enjoying views from the strategically placed feature window.

The two further bedroom wings, on either side of the master suite, offer identical accommodation which flows off from the central landing.  They are intelligently designed with double doors enabling each wing to be used as a stand-alone suite if required.  The second floor houses the en suite bathroom and dressing room for our client’s husband whose work prescribes early morning starts.  In order to minimise disruption to the rest of the household, the stairs to the second floor are positioned within the master bedroom whilst additional stairs situated in the second floor dressing room allow for direct access to the main landing.  The second floor also plays host to a further dressing room and a beauty salon complete with pedicure, manicure, massage and hair stations.

With technical expertise and creative flair, our team have successfully juxtaposed two starkly contrasting styles to create a masterpiece of architectural design and space planning.  Clean, precise lines layered with opulent materials have successfully delivered an incomparable living experience in a quintessentially English setting.

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