Dwell’s series on daylighting is supported by Marvin, whose Awaken Skylight and Skycove window system nurture connections with the outdoors and demonstrate natural light’s ability to improve well-being.
If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
At least that’s what one Suffolk Coast couple thought when they spotted the perfect riverside property just down the street from their own drafty Georgian. Though the sun-drenched site and its decrepit, 1960s shack weren’t explicitly for sale, what could it hurt to poke a few inquiry letters under the door?
The bold move paid off. A deal was struck. That little shack? Demolished. And soon, it was their perfect riverside property: a fresh start for the pair (a financial professional and a passionate gardener) and their four teenage daughters.
With the help of TAS Architects, something truly special began to shape up. "They were looking for somewhere amazing to come back to," says Christophe Spiers, the technical design director at TAS.
For inspiration, Spiers let the riverside site take the lead, focused on creating something that both sat within the landscape and made the most of it. The views to the south were already framed by trees; Spiers and team came to the property with compasses to map out the exact angles to capture unobscured sight lines. "I don’t want to say that the house designed itself," laughs Spiers, "but…"
The resulting 3,150-square-foot timber-frame structure sits a few acres from the riverbank, surrounded by a sea of sun-bleached grass. Clad in weathered larch and sandstone-colored custom brick, the house looks right at home here, its two angled wings reaching out and up, as if stretching after a nap in the sun.
The western wing houses bedrooms for the parents and the eldest daughter; a central glazed throughway connects to the other wing, home to the rest of the kids’ rooms, which all open up to a shared balcony. Designed to grow with the family’s needs, the home also has a bedroom on the ground floor intended for aging in place ("It’s a house to grow old in," says Spiers), and the girls’ wing can be closed off when they’re away, so there’s no energy wasted heating an unused portion of the house.
The L-shaped layout isn’t just a stylistic choice: The form helps block the blustery southwest wind. Openings to external terraces—both on the ground level and off the second-story bedrooms—allow a more controlled breeze to flow through. Downstairs, two sliding glass doors from Finepoint Glass meet on the corner. When they’re open, "you get this big, cantilevered moment," says Spiers.
Though the family lives here year-round, the breezy, beautiful, unpretentious design keeps the vibes laid-back every single day. Says Spiers, "It feels like a vacation home."
Architect: TAS Architects / @tasarchitects
Builder/General Contractor: Harrison and Wildon Ltd
Structural Engineer: Superstructures / @superstructuresuk
Kitchen Cabinetry: Maisey Restoration
Cabinetry Design/Installation: Nick Bourne
Engineered Timber Structure: Anson Timberworks / @ansontimberworks Building Control: Assent
Bespoke Staircase & Balustrading: Cake Industries / @cakeindustries
Bespoke Glazing: Finepoint Glass / @finepointglass
Bricks: York Handmade
Timber Cladding: Russwood / @russwoodUK
Casement Windows: Velfac / @velfacwindows
Roofing Subcontractor: EA Roofing / @ea_roofing
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