Sissinghurst House

Larissa Johnston Architects have reimagined and extended this mid-century detached dwelling and exploited the potential of this delightful site in Kent for a young creative family. While the existing house is inherently charming, it has required considerable alteration, to function well as a modern family home.

The character and layout of the existing bedrooms and main living space, which beautifully address various areas of the garden, have been largely retained. To the rear of the house the ancillary spaces (including kitchen, utility, bathrooms and storage) have been added to and significantly reconfigured to optimise circulation flow and functionality.

Planning constraints dictated that any permissible increase in height to the existing building was minimal. Sinking the new kitchen and dining area slightly below ground has allowed for a new mezzanine level to be included. This provides extended living space with a guest area and introduces elevated views to the surrounding area.

Expressed through the materiality, a subtle approach is taken to differentiate between the existing and the new elements. The retained area of the house, which is currently in disrepair, is re-clad in timber shingles to match the original. The new rear part of the house is clad with vertical timber boards which harmonise with the timber shingles but which clearly define the contemporary insertion. Carefully configured vertical slot windows provide a visual separation between the two variations of timber cladding.

Sustainable strategies for heating, ventilation and water management are adopted as well as a substantial upgrade to the building fabric to reduce energy consumption.

The proposal received Planning Permission in 2019 and this partial self-build project is to start on site in early 2020.

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