London-based practice Studio Weave designed the retreat as an extension to the home of Tom Baker and Natalie Silk, the founders of Field Day festival. Named after the historic sandpit on which the project now stands, Made of Sand provides a self-contained annex that can be used by family and friends, but also as a rentable workspace for artists.
The pair bought the cottage seven years ago, attracted to its idyllic setting surrounded by the heath, woodland and meadows in the Blackdown Hills near where they grew up, and the idea of opening their home to creatives wanting to make connection with projects in the locality, or simply the natural setting.
“Made of Sand is a place designed to share with others including those requiring a creative recharge, not just our own family and friends,” say Silk and Baker. “It’s a place we feel rested and revived at and was a haven during lockdown, so we’re looking forward to seeing others build relationships with both the landscape and creative/community centred organisations in the area too.”
The two-storey annex replaces a former garage and workshop, and wraps around the gable and rear of the property in an L shape. A restored stone staircase that climbs the eastern elevation gives the retreat its own private entry.
The structure is panelled inside and out. Externally the sheets of UK-grown Western Red Cedar have silvered in harmony with the old stone building, while inside the warm tone of the douglas fir ply panelling is echoed in the choice of materials and fittings such as terracotta, clay and brass.
“Made of Sand balances our signature technical precision in an organic, natural setting. The contrast between materials, old and new, in and out are foregrounded to create a distinct sense of rest and relaxation in the new spaces,” said Studio Weave director Je Ahn.
The 85-square-metre plan includes a bedroom suite and a galley kitchen at ground level, with a living space above. One end of the lounge is wrapped in glazing and a window seat from which to admire views out over the meadow in front of the property and beyond to the Blackdown Hills.
The interior spaces, designed in collaboration with client Natalie Silk, focus on revealing the structure of the building. The douglas fir ceiling soffits and wall structures are left exposed, and their lines continued into the battoning of wall panelling to create a cocooning effect. Niches in the walls are incorporated into the functionality of the space, used for display, as storage or window seats inside, and outside to store logs within easy access of the door.
While timber completely envelops the upper floor, downstairs segments of wall have been finished in a complementary pink-toned lime plaster – which has a little sand incorporated in a nod to the site’s former use.