Located in suburban Edinburgh, the house was commissioned by a professional couple looking to build a functional family home with architectural elegance and originality.
They wanted a light and open feel to the house and to create ‘a modern but timeless’ piece of architecture using traditional materials. Purcell worked closely with the clients from concept to completion over three years.
The suburban site is long and narrow, sandwiched between two existing houses. To build a contemporary house that worked within this context, architect Diana Borland spent a few days with the clients on site, formulating ideas to strike the right balance for the design concept. The brief was set through emotional mapping, a highly effective technique that guides clients through the architectural design process.
The building has many sustainable features, it is off the grid, heated with an air source heat pump and supported with photovoltaics on the roof.
Inside, accommodation is set around the striking feature chimney – the heart of the home. The wide angled entry immediately provides vistas of the other spaces and leads into an open plan kitchen and double height living room. An oak, open tread staircase wraps behind the chimney towards the first floor bedrooms. The chimney and play of levels functionally divides the spaces.
Explaining their concept, the client commented:
”We had an idea that we wanted an open/Scandinavian feel to the house where we could all spend time as a family, but have space to go our separate ways when we want to. The Villa Mairea was something which we liked from early on, and the Esherick House by Louis Khan gave us an inspiration for our large wall of bookshelves in the lounge.”
Products and materials were carefully selected in order to keep within the budget without losing the integrity of the design. As one of the building’s principal materials, sustainably sourced timber was used throughout. The Scottish larch timber clad dining room protrudes from the sharp lined, rendered main block and directly connects to the garden pavilion opposite.
Outside, the new garden pavilion with sedum roof is conceived as an extension of the house, providing space for the family to sit and reflect back at the house they created. The landscaping wraps around the buildings and comprises three distinct areas.
Diana Borland, Senior Architect at Purcell commented:
“From the early stages of emotional mapping and the intrinsic involvement of the client in the design process, we knew that we were creating something special. The house is a haven of openness, space and stylishness and sits in a league of its own in its suburban setting.”
The client commented:
“We are really delighted with the new house which Purcell has delivered for us. We knew roughly what we liked but simply didn’t have the skills or the vision to see how that could be achieved. Diana listened to our outline brief and then worked with us to develop a building which as well as being a family home, also has a distinct ‘wow factor’. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”