Words by Rosie Cattrell
In a most spectacular transformation, the Woodford Architecture team work their magic once again to build the home of a lifetime from the ground up.
It all begins with a 1960s bungalow. While quaint and charming in its way, set on the banks of a sheltered, coastal inlet creek of the Helford, it was clear to the team at Woodford Architecture that the home had served its time, and hadn’t been designed to serve the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty around it, as is all too often the case. Old fashioned, outdated and underperforming in terms of energy use, Sarah, Gavin and the team set about making their plans to develop a home that embraced the land around it, in the particular image of their client’s dream house. Seeking a tranquil space in which to retreat and find home, this calm water-side setting and enchanting gardens and grounds lay ready and waiting to give Woodford’s clients what they sought; the only thing left to do was realise the home they dreamt of.
Having lived abroad for some time, the clients were looking to bring back with them a sense of open space and connectivity with the outside, inspired by the exotic blooms of a sub-tropical garden, fortunately known to thrive in Cornish climates. With a determination, as always, to design a home that sensitively responds to the unique landscape and local characteristics already in place in this beautiful location, an elegant and timeless Woodford property was drawn up to take centre stage by the water’s edge.
“We designed the project around five blocks,” explains Gavin, “each with a view of the water and with its own separate function, in a clean, symmetrical and ordered plan. For instance, the first block is the swimming pool wing and outdoor area to the right of the house.” The cool blue of the pool combined with an outdoor fire and places to sit and relax offers a feeling of far-off places sought by many of us when the sun shines.
“The second block is the kitchen wing and guest suite,” Gavin continues, “while the central wing makes up the third block, accessed via a bridge link that runs over the sub-tropical gardens and into a double-height entrance lounge.” This is where we get into some of the most impressive aspects of the home, with this particular element an absolutely staggering architectural achievement. Looking down over the enchanting gardens below, and with the entirety of the house in full view from the bridge link, you can’t help but be blown away by this incredible home. Welcomed by a vaulted ceiling and a double-sided fireplace to warm the upstairs lounge with a view out over the water, the entrance stairwell leads you down to the ground floor and main lounge, extending out into the garden. It’s a truly exceptional sight.
With the main guest suite making up the fourth block, and the master bedroom wing completing the project as the fifth, the now finished property can certainly be regarded as a masterpiece, each detail carefully planned and executed. From en-suites and dressing rooms to balconies and fireplaces, even custom circular windows inspired by the coastal setting and fitted by a local joiner, nothing has gone without the focussed attention to detail Woodford has built a reputation on.
With hints of a modern-day manor house standing proudly on the edge of the Helford, the gently sloping grounds lead all the way down from the house to the water’s edge. The re-modelled boat house and creek studio restored from the 60s are just the cherry on top of a perfect cake. “Our clients were absolutely overwhelmed with the result,” Gavin reflects, “and we are delighted with the finished project. Responding to a landscape and integrating this into the building is something we take pride in. It’s about understanding the language of a home, even before it’s been built, and connecting it with the landscape around it.”