- Mark Merer
- Louis Porter
Designed by Mark Merer, this English home bridges the gap between past, present, and future.
On the site of what was once a commercial garage, architect and sculptor Mark Merer conceptualized a home that would blend in seamlessly with the unique landscape. Sitting happily between a Georgian Grade II listed structure, and a residential building that saw past lives as both a silk mill and a bacon factory, the home boldly innovates while respecting history.
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With the challenge of fitting a four bedroom house on an oddly shaped plot, Merer's design aimed to maximize space. Cor-Ten steel makes up the home's distinctive exterior, a nod to the site's industrial roots. Glass, steel, and wood intersect on the second floor wrap-around deck.
The home's eye-catching façade is juxtaposed with its neighbors: the stone wall of the old factory to the east, and a historic Georgian to the west. Set back from the street, the steel cladding of the upper two floors sits above the red cedar ground floor and entrance.
A connection to the elements was crucial to Merer, who describes his design philosophy as "looking for the perfect union of object and environment."
"You become very much more aware of the landscape by putting objects in it," says Merer. The historical landmarks of the town are beautifully framed by the angular metal lookouts. The Cor-Ten exterior is corrosion-resistant and will develop a unique surface patina over time.
The second floor deck leads into an inviting living room. Throughout the home, green features are employed to achieve near-Passivhaus energy standards. Triple glazed Kneer-Südfenster windows are strong insulators, and polished concrete floors absorb and retain solar energy.
The stark white minimalist kitchen features quartz countertops, a Gessi Oxygene tap, a 1810 Company Zenuno sink, and energy-efficient Bosch appliances.
The Piet Hein Superellipse dining table adjacent to the kitchen is homeowner Andrew Pennock's favorite part of the house. He enjoys watching the changing light while drinking coffee, eating meals, and using the space as a home office. Having the main living area elevated on the second floor is "a delight," says Pennock. It "takes you away from street level and offers a slightly different perspective on the world."
Cork staircases connect each floor of the house, while adding warmth and texture to the home's neutral palette.
Similar to the kitchen, white materials and finishes are favored in the home's bathrooms. White limestone is complemented by Ikea cabinets, counters, sinks, and taps. Square casement windows provide a strong focal point and help bring natural light into the space.