Featherstone Young has completed Stonecrop, a two-storey new-build house in Rutland, East Midlands. Straddling the village’s settlement boundary, the site was deemed small and poorly serviced. The architect adopted a two-stage planning approach, demonstrating how building new housing carefully and strategically within villages can prevent linear spread and protect the surrounding countryside. “Releasing overlooked sites such as these helps keep villages compact, and kicks against the usual housing development we see sprawling into the countryside”, says Sarah Featherstone.
The 347-square-metre dwelling comprises two wings organised around a circular courtyard. A textured dry-stone wall – made from local Clipsham limestone – with minimal openings encloses the main living accommodation. The guest wing is constructed from the same material, but with a smooth ashlar finish and larger windows.
Site plan, ground floor-plan, section,
A white rendered wall slices through the plan dividing it into two triangular wings, with each one pitching its green roof in the opposite direction – as if the landscape has been lifted up and the house inserted beneath. The rising, faceted roof over the main wing begins at one end of the diagonal wall, with the low entrance porch, and culminates in the double-height living spaces at other end, facing south over the surrounding countryside. A cedar-clad ceiling follows the roof profile, circling over the main living rooms and rising to the highly glazed double-height spaces of the main wing.
A library and study are located under the highest part of the rising timber ceiling in the double-height living room. In response to the client’s love of trees, an eyrie has been created at the highest level of the house. Nestled amongst the treetops, it is cantilevered off the stone buffer wall, along with a number of other projecting pods and stone features.
The internal layout forms part of the environmental strategy, whereby only the main wing is heated for day-to-day living, and the guest wing can be opened up when required. The latter can accommodate up to six people in three guest bedrooms. Elsewhere, the north west-facing dry stone wall acts as a thermal buffer, while large glazed walls and roof overhangs to the south and south-east provide solar gain in the winter, as well as high levels of daylight and ventilation. The courtyard provides dual aspect and cross ventilation to the main living spaces, with access from either wing. It also ensures protection from the prevailing south-westerly wind.