Located in the village of Little Oddington, Oxfordshire, this contemporary house stands out for its design sophistication, efficiency and innovation. It strikes a unique balance between architectural and historical credibility and technological and ecological sophistication.
Due to its location, traditional Cotswold design requirements had to be incorporated into the design. Hanse Haus and Cotswold-based architect, Renato Lusardi made knowing choices over materials and form, such that when you blur your eyes you are seeing a house which knits into the local architectural grain. Yet, when you refocus, you are seeing something quite special – a high efficiency, 21st century house with extremely low energy consumption and a delightful, freeform, interior spaces.
The use of Corten steel, which looks like rusted metal, alongside pressure treated southern yellow pine wood cladding (a very strong hardwood requiring no maintenance) and a pitched zinc roof to imitate an agricultural barn, cleverly blends this eco-build into the local environment.
Surrounded by 1.8 acre landscaped garden and woodland, the family placed huge emphasis on bringing the outdoors into the property. Historically relevant designs paired with modern, light, open-plan sophistication do not often go hand-in-hand; however, tilt n’ turn windows and an impressive ceiling to floor corner window at the far end of the kitchen unites the outside environment with the interior living space, to take advantage of stunning panoramic views. Two of the first floor bedrooms have mezzanine floors overlooking the grounds, to further extend the sense of space whilst merging the magical woodland with the bedrooms.
The interior provides a spacious open-plan 320m² living space, with the kitchen being the heart of the home. Large archways lead into the main family areas, offering a seamless transition between individual rooms, giving a functional, yet homely feel. The distinctive void in the ceiling above the dining area is an ingenious way to incorporate more light and a sense of space, whilst also connecting the ground floor with the first floor.
The house marries open-plan with the need for independence. Alongside the communal rooms are individual spaces for each family member, such as an office with individual work stations, a snug/TV room, meditation room and library.
All five bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms, with water coming from a natural borehole. Underfloor heating runs throughout the ground and first floors, sourced from an air source heat pump, which - combined with the ventilation system, thermal insulation (a mineral wood product) in the walls, ceilings and roofs - naturally and efficiently holds the heat and maintains a wonderful even temperature throughout the entire house.
The combination of 16 photo voltaic panels creating 3.8kW of energy, 30cm thick thermo-efficiency walls, roofs and windows, high-tech mineral wood thermal insulation, ventilation and a natural water supply from a borehole, the family have seen a drastic reduction in running costs, despite the huge size of the property. The property has also been awarded an EPC rating B and C02 emissions category rating B.
This house, constructed in just 12 weeks by Hanse Haus, demonstrates that contemporary sophistication and historical relevance are not an either/or - they can exist side by side. In doing so, we simultaneously know where we are coming from, while improving where we are going.