Connected to the land

Words by Rosie Cattrell


In perfect harmony with the landscape that surrounds it, we take a look at one of ARCO2’s most impressive projects to date and peep behind the curtain of the exciting future that awaits Waterhouse.



When asked exactly what the home of our dreams would look like, it can be hard to grasp the finer details. While living room views and bedroom aesthetics may come to mind with ease, it’s difficult to know where you’d spend most of your time in an imaginary house, or how you’d make use of it on a daily basis. However, architecture firm ARCO2 happen to be in the business of dream homes, and after the completion of one of their latest award-winning projects, they may just have touched on the realms of my own.

Originally a 1980’s Cornish bungalow, what stands in its place couldn’t be any further from the tired property that went before, an old-fashioned structure that the owners and the team at ARCO2 didn’t feel was taking full advantage of the outstanding surroundings on its doorstep. In its stead, in all its glory, is Waterhouse.


Modern, innovative and divinely picturesque against the stunning backdrop that is the Camel Estuary, Waterhouse was designed with the Cornish landscape firmly in mind, as Co-Director Ian Armstrong explains: “One of our main concepts for the build was to minimise the visual impact of the property when viewed from the Camel Trail across the river, with the secluded monument (a former windmill) beyond. Waterhouse was designed to be read as part of the hedgerow, rather than a modern white block on the landscape. When we took on this project, we were absolutely delighted at the opportunity to create a family home that better connects with its wonderful location.” Dressed in a restrained palette of natural materials, the architectural language of Waterhouse is simplified with a delicate nod to its agricultural setting, having settled in comfortably amongst its Cornish surroundings.

Interspersed with secret doors, cosy corners and spaces made for peaceful moments, Waterhouse draws you in through the front door into an internal courtyard turned sitting room, a truly striking space lit beautifully by the large roof light above. The grounded earth tones of bare brick and natural wood merge Mediterranean summers with the cosiness of a Cornish winter beside an open fire. Out through the Crittall doors, and hidden at the centre of this spectacular home, is the sun terrace; intimate, private and perfect for al fresco entertainment.


In a seamless transition between outside and in, the astonishing panorama of the Camel Estuary is drawn in through the expansive floor-to-ceiling glass front into the open plan living space to the front of the home, inviting a calm contemplation of Cornwall’s abundant natural beauty from the kitchen, the dining area and the cosy, comfortable lounge. Thoughts of cooking in the kitchen at sundown come to mind, the solid wood, stainless steel and matt black space tinted orange and glowing in the last light of the day before coming together to dine in front of the most breath-taking natural backdrop. With wonderfully high ceilings the horizon seems endless, and when it’s time to turn in the lounge invites intimate evenings in front of the log burner while the stars begin to appear outside. For the star gazers, the south-facing sun deck on the other side of the Crittall glass doors, while perfect for lounging the day away, holds a kind of magic when night falls, and the traditional, wood-lined hot tub makes for the perfect front-row seat to a cloudless night sky.

When asked, Ian confesses that his favourite feature of Waterhouse is “the hallway turned gallery with its frameless roof that lights the entire length of the walk way, letting in the sky for a view of the stars at night, while the secret doors in the walls hide the sanctuary of the bedrooms behind them.” Calming neutrals adorn these minimalist havens, each with pristine luxury en-suites and carefully arranged garden views, apart from the master room which delights in the gentle beauty of the Camel Estuary reaching in to lift your spirits each morning. Every aspect of Waterhouse has been carefully considered to absorb as much of the enchanting surroundings as possible, and it’s clear that this home has been made to be lived in to the fullest.


In an exciting and, albeit, unexpected turn of events, the fate of Waterhouse now lies with Omaze UK who, in a fantastic effort to raise money for Blood Cancer UK, are offering up this one-of-a-kind property in their million-pound house draw, the winner of which will be announced this August. While this direction for Waterhouse may have come as a surprise to the team at ARCO2, I asked Ian what he saw for the future of Waterhouse, and what this beautiful family home can offer the lucky winner of this compelling competition: “Health and wellbeing were at the forefront of our minds when we came to bring this house together, and the lifestyle benefits that come with it are exceptional. With incredible riverside views and popular surfing beaches down the road, this is a property to contend with anyone’s idea of a dream home.” Coming fully furnished in all its perfectly finished splendour, I’m sure onlookers from all over the country are crossing their fingers in the hope that they might just be the next owner of the barely conceivable dream that is Waterhouse.

arco2.co.uk