House for Humfrey Peake 1965

I designed this house for a friend while still working in the office of John Penn. The site was just below a lovely little mediaeval church and great care was taken with massing to make it unobtrusive and to match the proportions to the church. The lower floor was half sunk into the slope of the site to lower the roof level, and the roof was flat and the covering was copper. The client made a large model which was photographed and superimposed on photos of the site and of the church. Despite that, the Suffolk County Council refused planning permission. On appeal the refusal was dismissed, the Inspector agreeing that the photomontage showed that the design was sympathetic in design and materials.

The building was timber framed, with a Douglas fir post and beam structure, and clad in stained pine, with well insulated walls roof and floors. The large south-facing windows, with a superb view of the Stour Estuary, were double glazed with Canadian windows. Heating was by electric underfloor cables, and electric ceiling heating panels. There was a little wood burning stove with air inlet direct from the outside. The house initially had an open terrace with a pergola outside the dining/kitchen, but soon a 'conservatory' greenhouse was put in its place providing a link to a guest bedroom, all in similar timber-framed construction. The flat copper roof developed condensation problems after 20 years, and a low pitched slate roof replaced it. The greenhouse was roofed as a sun room, and a new 'conservatory added to the south. I remained the architect for all the developments. Recently the house was sold, and another extension added, showing that the basic conception made sympathetic additions easy.

The house was built by Mr A T Saunders and Son, and the Douglas fir frame was prefabricated by Wm Brown and Co in Ipswich. It used recycled Suffolk White bricks for the small areas of brick facing.