I was appointed by a private Client to design an annexe attached to a two and a half storey arts and crafts style house in Ipswich. The brief is to create an annexe which links to the property via a first floor side window, to avoid impacting the main living space and the symmetry of the property. The idea is to create an annexe in a contemporary style, as a stark contrast to the existing property whilst not detracting from the main views and setting of the existing dwelling.
The Client would like to create an annexe of approximately 130 square metres, as she wishes to move into the annexe and pass the house on to her daughter and family. The brief is very specific with regards to layout, scale and overall appearance. The form is to project from the first floor window and step down to the lower ground level, as the site drops down in front of the main house, wrapping around the front gable, yet still allowing views from the front windows.
There is to be a 'winter garden' opening up onto a green roof. The accommodation will allow for one large bedroom on the lower ground floor with a study area and lift shaft up to the living area on the upper ground floor, which is on a level similar to the ground floor of the main house. A first floor link is to contain a wet room so that the bedroom in the main house could double up as a guest bedroom if required in either property.
It is also a requirement to provide covered parking, to make the annexe easily accessible in any weather for the occupant.
The existing dwelling has extensive grounds, which has become difficult to maintain for the Client. The rear garden extends to the north and a large area of land forms the garden to the south, at a lower level to the main house. The proposal is to create the annexe so that it sweeps around the house on this lower level and re-landscape the area to widen the existing driveway, while creating a more manageable outdoor space which can be enjoyed by the occupants of the main house as well as the annexe. An existing rear garage is situated to the south west and would need to remain accessible. The site is generally surrounded by large trees and close boarded fencing and is barely visible from the highway.
The proposed lower ground floor consists of the main access, garage and car port, study and bedroom with en-suite. All rooms are designed to be accessible for a person with limited mobility. A lift shaft is designed in to accommodate a wheelchair and there is also a staircase to the main floor. This floor is below the main ground floor of the existing house at a level which sits on the level of the garden below.
The ground floor plan consists of a main living space with open plan kitchen / dining area and WC. This opens up onto a 'winter garden' which contains the lift shaft. The 'winter garden' has fully glazed bi-folding doors opening up onto a green roof surrounded by a glazed balcony. This will ensure that the views across from the main house are not limited by the annexe and remain as open as possible with no loss of light.
A small link to the first floor of the main house will allow internal access for the Client's family to be able to regularly visit and provide any necessary care. The link contains a wet room which means that the bedroom in the main house can be sectioned off to allow for a carer to stay, or to double up for the main house to use as a guest room with en-suite when not in use by the annexe. A staircase provides easy access to the main living accommodation on the floor below.
The overall design is to be a contemporary, white rendered annexe with grey aluminium fenestration and a dark grey roof. There will be full height windows providing plenty of light into the internal spaces whilst not overlooking the neighbouring properties. The 'winter garden' will provide a safe environment for the occupant to enjoy the outdoors and the overall scheme will enhance the quality of life for the Client, who currently finds it increasingly difficult to access the first floor rooms in the main house and maintain the house and gardens.
A proposed view of the site from the main highway shows how the property is surrounded by substantial existing trees and hedgerows and set back from the main road. The site is only visible on foot as it is not noticeable at all when driving by. Both the main house and the annexe will be visible on approach to the site and the annexe does not detract from the grandeur of the main house.