IO1: Importance of Design in our Homes

Published on 29th June 2020 by Wendy Perring

I strive to make a building that will make people more aware of the beauty of the setting, and when looking at the building in the setting, a hope for a new consciousness to see the beauty there as well. Sverre Fehn

Living through the pandemic has underlined the importance of considered and well-designed architecture; elevating our homes into more than simply a shelter but a place to retreat to that nurtures the soul. Having been forced to spend so much time in our homes, we have been presented with an opportunity to examine them in a new light, perhaps appreciating them in ways we haven’t before.

In this mini-series over the next few weeks we will take an in-depth look at some important aspects that help create a beautiful and comfortable home, first up:


A building should never just appear abruptly ‘plonked’ on the land. For a building to be successful the architecture and landscaping must be tightly intertwined. Good building design should enhance its setting, making the best aspects of the site stronger and be crafted to be as environmentally positive as possible.

When working on Paragraph 79 schemes one of the two unique criteria for gaining approval is to ‘enhance its immediate setting’. This cannot be achieved as an afterthought but has to be developed from the outset, in some aspect the landscape leads the design of the building – not the other way around.

The Para 79 home we are currently working on is sited by a lake, on the edge of a flood zone with a small copse of mature trees to the north and an overflow from a river providing a home for water voles at the edge of the plot. Working closely with our Landscape Architects, Seed, consideration of these ecological and landscape elements have dictated the position, size and orientation of the building.

Our Chestnut Farm home was a replacement mobile dwelling, crafted to comply with the requirements of the Caravan 1966 act. The replacement mobile dwelling embraces the landscape and sits humbly in this idyllic setting, each element (main home, working stables, workshop, kitchen garden and outdoor kitchen) have been carefully planned to strengthen and enliven the buildings dialogues with surrounding landscape.

Raised above the earth on removable piles, the home and appears to gently float above the wild landscape in which it is immersed. The elevated terrace offers a tranquil and ever-changing view of the natural surroundings – orientated towards natural pond and woodland. The home and terrace spaces southerly facing aspect were carefully planned to make the most of the sun path without creating solar gain overheating issues.

Next week we will look at the importance of outside space. 

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