A two-storey house by John Pardey Architects engages with an existing garden wall


James Morris

Cheeran House by John Pardey Architects occupies a semi-constrained site between Reading and Oxford in west Berkshire. The 284 square metre scheme is based on the desire to maximise a south-facing aspect and engage with an existing walled garden that was previously part of the Basildon Park Estate, but now forms part of the site, albeit outside the residential curtilage.


A timber-clad box containing the bedrooms ‘floats’ over the masonry and glass ground floor

The house is planned around a partially sunken courtyard in response to strict planning restrictions relating to development height and a steeply sloping site. A single-storey wing containing a guest suite and study is located on the east side of the plan under a sedum roof. Set back beneath the upper storey of the adjacent wing, the ground-floor living spaces face south, partially enclosing the courtyard with a full- height glass wall. Porcelain floor tiles run from inside to outside, blurring the distinction between house and garden.


The house is planned around a partially sunken, south-facing courtyard, whose visual focus is a solitary Persian ironwood tree; view from the master bedroom

The external ground floor walls are faced in flint, sourced from the adjoining grade-two listed former schoolhouse. Clad in sweet chestnut boarding, a timber box containing the bedrooms ‘floats’ above the north-facing red-brick garden wall facade. A masonry chimney is designed to visually unite the upper and lower volumes. Conceived as a ‘zen-like’ space, the courtyard comprises a square of mown grass, a pool and a single Persian ironwood tree.

The master bedroom is located at the western end of the plan, set approximately one metre above the rising site. A large window slides into the flank wall, revealing a Juliet balcony with a glass balustrade. This gives the impression that the house is floating over its site, when viewed from inside. The children’s bedrooms open onto the walled garden, while a fifth bedroom faces east across the valley towards the Chilterns. The latter incorporates a vertical-slatted screen to protect the privacy of the nearby houses.


The house is serviced by a ground-source heat pump system, that with MVHR and rooftop photovoltaic panels, exports more energy than it consumes. There is also a wood-fired stove that is intended to form the emotional heart of the house, as well as provide additional heating.

Download Drawings

Building credits

John Pardy Architects
Structure, drainage
Barton Engineers
Services, renewables
Majestic Trees, Pictorial Meadows
MH Estates

LED Lighting
John Cullen
Porcelain floor tiles
Terra Max