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Penny Carpentier Jan 14, 2019 Apartments
High ceilings are lined with oil timber, for example. In the centre of the living room, a beautiful painted stone fireplace serves as a toasty focal point for guests and family gatherings. Large windows, running almost floor to ceiling, perfectly frame a vivid and wonderfully positioned view of the lake and the mountains outside. Although the materials inside sound rather rustic and natural in their nature, the scaled back approach that designers took allowed for smoother lines and colour schemes that somehow make things appear more streamlined and contemporary inside, despite the consistency in materials.
The volumes where the bedrooms are located are positioned according to what’s best for each area specifically. By this, we mean that there is no hierarchy of rooms; no “master bedroom” or “small guest room” that might have more or less value in experience. Instead, each room has a perfect level of view, privacy, and orientation according to sunlight based on where it sits in the stack. In addition to fantastic views, most of the rooms are also afforded direct access to one of the house’s six courtyards.
An additional but slightly less stark contrast lies in the parts of the house that are made from beautifully clean glazed glass framed in black metal. In the first wing of the house, which is the tallest, the ground floor provides dwellers with a parking garage tucked subtly behind a fence near the street. Up a flight of sturdy concrete stairs, designers placed the dining area, living room, and kitchen together on the first building’s upper level. Here, a part of the roof is lifted and a clerestory window is inset for lots of natural sunlight. Perpendicular to this first building is the wing of the house containing all the private areas. The sprawling master suite sits on the top level here, while the bottom floor of the second volume provides space for two slightly smaller bedrooms and a cozy den.
Something about it just emanated workability. The plot itself measures only 45 square metres and is surrounded on all sides by the back gardens of its neighbouring Victorian buildings with old fashioned terraces, except for the side where it faces onto a the road. Due to the limited space the designer had to work with, teams decided to extend the building upwards, adding rooms vertically rather than horizontally.
Part of what influenced RIBA judges to choose this house as the UK’s best home of the year was the beauty and efficiency with which it was built despite the nature and weather challenges presented by its remote location. Not even the often harsh weather of the Scottish highlands during the winter prevented the team from achieving their vision.
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