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.