Modern cottage design, Oxted

Introduction

Taking on a pre-existing planning approval for a new build property in an Arts & Crafts style on a plot in Oxted, Surrey, Vane Cottage was an immediate opportunity for Design By Uber to prove the value of early involvement in a complete rework of the spatial planning and architecture.

The Brief

To take the approved drawings and critique them with a view to creating a home that works for a modern family of Scandinavian roots whilst producing a home of significant architectural detail and interest. To apply our skills to carry out Landscaping Design as an extension of our work internally.

Details & Specific Points of Interest

It was apparent from the offset that the planning approval and work conducted prior to our engagement required a significant overhaul. The existing spatial arrangements neither worked in practice nor considered the needs of a modern family and we set about a complete re-think that was to become fantastic added value. We started with the plot itself, the approach to the house being critical and ensuring that we set the house well within the hardscaping but also allowed space for planted borders in front of the building itself. We then re-oriented the garaging and added an important orangery extension to the right hand side. The rear elevation was our opportunity to leave some of the extensive Arts & Craft detailing behind and add a modern twist with the use of large format glazing.

Internally we now had a better building form, flooded with light and an opportunity to embrace the wonderful view of the rear garden from the moment you enter the property. Hallways are one of the most important design considerations, after all, they are the first impression. There are some key points to our design, both functionally and aesthetically. Firstly we think about the view, we opened this up so that it wasn’t limited or contained. We created a magnificent picture window, a bridge at first floor level and a shaped staircase. We always consider how this may look at night and we never rely on downlights to illuminate a space. Providing for decorative lighting maximises the chance of creating the mood that is most welcoming and enjoyable. Wall spaces for console tables and table lamps are as important as the central feature light itself. We ensured these were positioned in the best possible place to allow impact, balance and symmetry. Then we provide the function, through cloaks and a wc, both tucked slightly away so as to be subordinate to the main space. Oversized doors complete the front section of the hallway, ensuring that rooms are never lost from everyday view whilst a three sided fire provides a wonderful point of interest in a dividing wall at the rear of the hall.

A secondary staircase wraps underneath the main stair leading to a leisure facility complete with outdoor sunken terrace and a fabulous contemporary designed sauna.
The rear landscaping is as enjoyable as the house itself with journeys created by pathways and topiary borders concluding in a hidden and raised play area accessed off a mini amphitheatre designed to enjoy both views of the children playing and to admire the house from the end of this wonderfully mature plot.