On a small and awkward site in the Midlands village of Wing, Featherstone Young built a 3,735-square-foot home for retired doctors Matthew and Nicky Lyttelton. The architects embraced the sloping topography by designing two graceful wings—one for the couple’s everyday use, and one that can be opened up for visiting family and friends.
A distinctive faceted green roof melds the building with the surrounding landscape, spiraling around the wings of the house and encircling a central open courtyard, while a rough drystone wall built from locally sourced Clipsham limestone acts as a thermal buffer for the main living area.
Glazed walls facing the south and southeast provide solar gain in the winter and abundant natural light and ventilation. A spacious balcony under an overhanging roof hugs the back of the house.
Inside, a majestic cedar-clad ceiling circles over the capacious living room and rises to the double-height spaces of the main wing. Three red high-gloss MDF partitions parcel out the space without overcrowding it. The partitions act much like furniture, housing shelves and cupboards, as well as a two-way wood-burning fireplace.
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Behind a secret door, a staircase leads up to the library and study on a mezzanine level that overlooks the living area and has magnificent views across the wildflower meadows to the back.
Meanwhile, cantilevered pods, picked out in colorful cladding, cling to the drystone wall and provide rooms for utilities, the dog, and even an "eyrie"—a cozy, green-hued nook that sits parallel to the treetops. "It’s a little escape space that has a wood burner in it—it’s very snuggly," explains architect Sarah Featherstone. "It’s about closing the door and being quite separate from the rest of the house."
The Lytteltons held a small competition before selecting Featherstone Young’s ambitious design, and they were involved throughout the project. Since the couple previously lived in a traditional home, the architects’ plan for a dug-in master bedroom took a bit of getting used to. "Their bedroom is about one meter underground, so the grass of the meadow comes up to the windowsill," explains Sarah. The owners were at first a little worried about having to go downstairs to sleep, rather than up, but "they had their minds changed. Nicky loves the bedroom now."
In fact, the couple couldn’t be happier. "We love the combination of open space and discrete private areas, the use of different levels, and the relationship with the garden and meadow," says Matthew. "The house is full of unexpected views and surprises, and the external character of the house changes dramatically from every viewpoint."
Structural Engineer: Conisbee
Landscape Architect: John Dejardin
Contractor: John Perkins Projects