An extraordinary double-gabled 4,000sq ft house, with steeply-pitched twin-peak roofs made of 4mm-thick Corten, a steel that rusts to a gorgeous velvety orange, springing from walls that were once a coach-house.
Pictures by Jack Hobhouse and David Butler
Tim and Jo knew what they wanted and how to make it, and worked with the architect, Stuart Piercy, to create what they had visualized, so that the house almost designed itself.
The house was designed around both parents and children. Rosalind, seven, designed her own bed, and a cupboard with lots of secret places.
There were many constraints on the plot. It was in a tightly built, mainly Victorian conservation area, with a mixture of brick house-styles with twiddles. Undaunted by Victoriana, Piercy got planning permission to create a modern house of rusting steel and glass.
The steel staircase runs up inside the glass middle, bridgeing the two pitched sections of the house.
The palette is simple throughout — floors are Danish Dinesen timber; interior timberwork is oak veneer, with some sliding pocket doors, and other doors that open to do a second job concealing shelves.
“I hate a redundant door and I’m obsessive about storage,” says Jo. Each drawer has a cutout hand pull, rather than a knob, while the cupboards have nothing — you just pull in the right place.
Some areas of steel are perforated, letting in dappled light to give a Moroccan feel; in the master bedroom, a daybed with a screened window makes the perfect place to read.
Jo caused a near riot with the kitchen. “I said I wanted it to be the centre of the house,” she says, “and they took me literally.” In fact, it is the courtyard that is the true centre, with the kitchen-diner leading out to it through floor-to-ceiling glass.
The courtyard marks the centre of the house (left). The roofs were made in pre-cut sections done by computer, swung up on cranes, and welded. Remarkably, no scaffolding was used to build this house (right).
Tim’s brother, Sam, a joiner, fitted all the doors and cupboards from a joinery workshop in the basement (left); a daybed with a screened window makes the perfect place to read (right).
The house has many suprises, but none caps the wooden slide (pictured right) that runs from a square hole at the top of the stairs all the way to the astroturfed basement. Much faster than the stairs (left).