Stepping Stones Lead to This Daylit Dwelling in the Middle of a Pond

By Kathryn M. / Published by Dwell

Two steel structures expand a family's existing living area while embracing the calming effects of surrounding nature.

London–based architects Hamish & Lyons replaced a set of unconnected and flood-prone outbuildings with airy and minimal steel-framed living spaces to create the Stepping Stone House. It took three years of repeated requests to receive planning approval, due to the existing home's listed status and location within a conservation area, green belt, and flood zone—but the finished product was well worth the wait.

Connected to the main home by a structural glass bridge, the new buildings provide additional living space and guest accommodations. Photo by James Brittain Photography

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Hamish & Lyons combined a new landscape design with playful details like a diving platform located along the deck. As the name alludes, stepping stones cross the pond abutting the main residence.

Stilts elevate the new spaces, keeping them clear of flood waters while also making it possible to swim underneath the buildings.

Photo by James Brittain Photography

Minimalist steel stilts give the impression that the buildings are levitating above the water. Hamish & Lyons reduced construction time and site waste by prefabricating much of the additions off-site.

One building serves as the family's main living space, while the other holds a guest house. A bridge links the two volumes together.

Photo by James Brittain Photography

The interiors feature larch glulam beams accented by Douglas fir plywood paneling.

Photo by James Brittain Photography

Shop the Look

Drop Vase

Polka was co-founded by designers Marie Rahm and Monica Singer in 2004. Today, it’s highly regarded as one of Austria’s most successful studios, focusing on accessories and furniture. Using the method of blowing up a glass bubble and letting the heated material hang down the blowpipe to form a drop-shaped object, Polka conceived the Drop Vase (2011), a simple, functional piece aptly named for the way it’s created. Made in Hungary.


Marset Polo Floor Lamp

The fluidity of its movements and its total stability make this flexible fitting a light source which can be moved anywhere without cluttering your desk or taking up too much valuable space. Its integrated LED technology allows one to direct the beam with the utmost precision, for a light that is both focused and warm, yet highly useful. Polo lamp features a diffuser made from injected aluminum, arms and built-in swivel joints CNC milled from an aluminum block, and a rotary switch located in the upper part of the head stock. Available in both black and white, it is offered with a range of optional accessories: table base, clamp or wall bracket, and, more recently, a floor stand, which makes it an ideal contender as a reading lamp, and a new spotlight. Photo courtesy of Horne


Hans J. Wegner Wishbone Chair

Designed specifically for Carl Hansen & Søn in 1949, Hans J. Wegner's Wishbone Chair (CH24) was the last part of his series that combined a chair's arms and top rails into one piece. The series was inspired by portraits of Danish merchants sitting in Chinese Ming Dynasty chairs. At the time, Wegner was making a huge leap of faith—and it paid off since Carl Hansen & Søn had been looking for a more lightweight chair than what was common at the time. The steam-bent solid wood top connects to the Y-shaped back in a way that provides both comfort and support. To this day, it’s crafted in Denmark with an acute attention to detail. The seat is hand-woven from paper cord, which is a durable material that replaced jute during WWII. You can choose to have the sculptural frame made of beech, oak, or walnut in a range of lacquer finishes.


The landscape design unites the family with their surroundings.

Photo by James Brittain Photography

The 4.9-foot overhanging eaves shelter the walkway and shade the interiors in the summer.

Photo by James Brittain Photography

A central "Y" post forms a focal point in each space and supports central roof skylights that extend the entire length of each building.

Photo by James Brittain Photography

A brick facade on one of the structures relates the new buildings to the existing home, and creates the impression of a monolithic form floating effortlessly above the water.

Photo by James Brittain Photography

A winding path connects the front parking area to the rear of the structures before leading to stepping stones that playfully connect with the guesthouse.

Photo by Will Scott

Related Reading: This Swedish Estate Has a Gorgeous, Minimalist Tiny House

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Hamish & Lyons / @hamish.herford

Builder/General Contractor: R J Clyde Builders LTD

Structural Engineer: Momentum

Landscape Design: Hamish & Lyons

Lighting Design: Hamish & Lyons

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