A 17th-Century Conservation Area in England Greets a Modern Home

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Sited in the upper garden of a 17th-century building, a contemporary abode blends beautifully with its historical setting.

The award-winning firm OB Architecture has recently revealed its striking design of Holm Place, a new build nestled in the upper garden of Manor Court, a 17th-Century structure which is located within the South Warnborough Conservation Area of Hampshire in England. 

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The two-story house is positioned adjacent to the massing of Manor Court so that the profile of its roof edge on the first and second floors align with the eaves and ridge of the property.

The two-story house is positioned adjacent to the massing of Manor Court so that the profile of its roof edge on the first and second floors align with the eaves and ridge of the property.

The 3,735-square-foot residence has been designed to harmoniously merge with the surrounding heritage buildings and complement its original site, which it does seamlessly thanks to the use of similar materials, forms, and proportions. The team of architects have also crafted the new dwelling to feature a modern L-shaped plan that extends to the edges of the site to embrace the best perspectives of Manor Court's green gardens.

The design was a response to the homeowner’s request for a bright, modern, and sustainable, four-bedroom home. The clients wanted open-plan living areas, a direct relationship to the garden, and thresholds that blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors.

The design was a response to the homeowner’s request for a bright, modern, and sustainable, four-bedroom home. The clients wanted open-plan living areas, a direct relationship to the garden, and thresholds that blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors.

"From our first visit, we identified a strong relationship between the existing house and the brick boundary wall that bounded the site. This gave rise to the notion of a traditional English walled garden as a means to orientate the new house," says architect James Chapman. 

The simple building materials —brick, timber, off-white render, glass, and zinc— and the elevation of the house take its cue from Manor Court. 

The simple building materials —brick, timber, off-white render, glass, and zinc— and the elevation of the house take its cue from Manor Court. 

"The building is arranged on a 9.8-foot structural grid, which is expressed both internally and externally to give clarity and order to the composition," says Chapman from OB Architecture.

"The building is arranged on a 9.8-foot structural grid, which is expressed both internally and externally to give clarity and order to the composition," says Chapman from OB Architecture.

A row of pleached holm oak trees line the garden on the East, hence the house's name.

A solid brick enclosure has been used for the external north-facing wall. 

A solid brick enclosure has been used for the external north-facing wall. 

The ground floor consists of two zones—a northern wing where the open-plan kitchen, dining room, and living area are located, as well as a western wing, which houses the four bedrooms. 

The ground floor consists of two zones—a northern wing where the open-plan kitchen, dining room, and living area are located, as well as a western wing, which houses the four bedrooms. 

A look at the dining table by Habitat and colorful IKEA dining chairs.

A look at the dining table by Habitat and colorful IKEA dining chairs.

The sofa in the living room is also by IKEA.

The sofa in the living room is also by IKEA.

The south-facing master bedroom on the first floor has a terrace that opens to views of the countryside beyond the garden.

The south-facing master bedroom on the first floor has a terrace that opens to views of the countryside beyond the garden.

Shop the Look
CB2 Makan White Wood and Wicker Lounge Chair
CB2 Makan White Wood and Wicker Lounge Chair
Designed by David Irwin, lounge chair proudly sits at the crossroad of then and now, combining traditional caning and modern Midcentury angles. Bleached cane seat and back weaves an airy compliment to the chic white finished frame. CB2 exclusive.
Cane-Line Breeze Highback Chair
Cane-Line Breeze Highback Chair
The tall Cane-line Breeze Highback Chair is an elegantly elongated version of the original Breeze Lounge Chair.
Hoyne Bed, Queen
Hoyne Bed, Queen
A bed built for meditation and rest, the Hoyne is a geometric symphony, composed of clean lines and solid oak. Beautiful details abound, including a mitred reveal on the headboard.
A glimpse at the Timber shutters from The New England Shutter Company.

A glimpse at the Timber shutters from The New England Shutter Company.

 An entrance hall, gallery, and double-height staircase connect the two wings, which frame views of the serene garden.  

 An entrance hall, gallery, and double-height staircase connect the two wings, which frame views of the serene garden.  

A zinc-cladding system has been incorporated above the north-facing wall as a reference to the agricultural buildings in the local area.  

A zinc-cladding system has been incorporated above the north-facing wall as a reference to the agricultural buildings in the local area.  

Durable Iroko timber—which when weathered, will match the color tone of the surrounding buildings—has been chosen as cladding for the internal courtyard elevations.

Durable Iroko timber—which when weathered, will match the color tone of the surrounding buildings—has been chosen as cladding for the internal courtyard elevations.

The site plan.

The site plan.

A cross-sectional drawing.

A cross-sectional drawing.

Another cross-sectional drawing.

Another cross-sectional drawing.

Project Credits: 

Architecture: James Chapman, OB Architecture 

Builder: R. Durtnell and Sons 

Structural engineering: Momentum 

Landscape design: Janine Patisson Studios 

Quantity surveyor: APS Associates 

Photography: Martin Gardner