Bringing contemporary architecture to West Horsley
PUBLISHED: 15:59 25 September 2014 | UPDATED: 16:12 25 September 2014
Copyright nicholas yarsley photography/www.nicholasyarsley.co.uk
Built for art-loving Surrey couple Liz and Mike Hauck, who wanted a contemporary and sustainable home as a replacement for a dated house in West Horsley, 'Wildwood' is a large, new house created by the German eco-house manufacturer Baufritz...
Building a contemporary home in a conservative neighbourhood characterised by large, traditionally-styled houses was always likely to be a challenge, but that is the task West Horsley couple Liz and Mike Hauck set German eco-house manufacturer Baufritz when they commissioned ‘Wildwood’.
Add into the mix that the village is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and adjacent to a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and the project may have seemed even more unnerving.
“There was a mixed reaction at first,” admits Liz. “But since things took shape, I’ve heard nothing but praise for it.
“We aimed for a contemporary take on the brick and flint that is so much a part of this village. We’re really pleased with the finished house and the build quality is exceptional.”
The couple knew from the start that they wanted a modern home and, with the help of an architect friend, had designed a contemporary ranch-style house, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie houses. So now they just needed someone to build it.
“We chose Baufritz because of the health benefits, just as much as the ecology side,” says Liz. “After selling my business and retiring, I went to art school, which is something I’d always wanted to do. I did, however, develop a number of allergies due to the products, so a healthy, well- ventilated, non-solvent build was a must.”
A perfect fit
‘Wildwood’ offers a gentle and relatively modest presence despite its size, allowing it to sit comfortably within the landscape.
A key external feature is a series of elegant and overlapping hipped roofs, covered with beautiful dark slate. Grey larch cladding to the upper level again softens its visual impact, while white render elsewhere emphasises its clean, contemporary profile.
Far removed from the traditional box-shaped houses of old, the walls jut in and out according to the views, aspect or function of each room. Downstairs, the open-plan kitchen and dining area is a light-filled and airy space thanks to floor to ceiling windows facing the garden and high ceilings above. A comfortable living area is focused – like Lloyd Wright’s houses – around a fireplace, and can be opened up to the main space with beautifully crafted sliding doors. Both these spaces open onto a large veranda beneath the eaves – bringing the outside in. Upstairs, three large bedrooms each have ensuite bathrooms.
Outside in the garden, meanwhile, an art studio provides a perfect retreat and creative space for Liz.
“It was hugely important for me to have a studio too,” says Liz. “I have been showing as part of Surrey Artists Open Studios for four years and host workshops from my studio as well. All my work helps to raise money for charity (see more details above), and so I’m very lucky to have a house with such a lovely atmosphere to it. There’s something very special about it.”
Thanks to its timber frame structure, construction of the large house was relatively quick, with the shell of the house complete in only a few days. Natural materials – even down to paint and floor finishes – are used throughout. Last but by no means least, much of the house’s energy is also generated on site by a groundsource heat pump and solar panels.
In the frame...
As a professional artist, a studio was high on Liz’s priorities.
A participant in the annual Surrey Artists Open Studios, you’ll also find her abstract works in oil on canvas at The Art Agency gallery in Esher.
All proceeds from the sale of her work are donated to The Art Room, a charity that offers art as therapy to children aged from five to 16.
Liz also runs regular workshops, some from her studio in West Horsley, and art charity events.
• Find out more at lizhauck.co.uk
A fourth generation family business founded back in 1896, Baufritz began to expand into the UK in 2006.
Today, it’s headed by Dagmar Fritz- Kramer, great-granddaughter of the founder. Since her launch of British subsidiary Baufritz (UK) Ltd with Oliver Rehm, they have built some 20 houses here as well as exporting to Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Luxemburg, Belgium and Russia.
The aim has always been to create ecologically friendly houses and has led to them becoming award-winning pioneers in timber house construction.
Baufritz (UK) Ltd
The Workplace, Oakington Road, Girton, Cambridge CB3 0QH
Contacts: 01223 235632 / baufritz.com