Project description provided by Ström Architects. Photos by Nick Hufton and Al Crow.
Island Rest is a response to our client’s brief for a contemporary holiday home for a family with three children. Situated on the beautiful Isle of Wight creek, Island Rest sits on a spacious site with direct access to the water and views of the Solent beyond. Our clients wanted a special space to escape to that would bring the family together, with a focus on nature and in particular, access to the Solent with all associated water activities.
Our clients asked for an architecturally timeless building, drawing on the very best modern architectural concepts to create a whole. No frivolous moves; rigour must flow through every space and detail. They wanted the house to feel open and light and to be simple to use and maintain. It should be welcoming to guests and readily welcome families to stay with them for weekends and holidays.
They asked the house to sit low, yet capitalize on the topography without compromising views of the Solent and the creek. Light was to be a significant part of the design with consideration of the main views being to the north and yet considering south sun.
The house is a combined timber and steel frame. By pre-cambering the steel above the sliding doors, a large column free span was achieved with a very slender beam. We worked with a sustainability consultant to achieve a sustainable build. High levels of insulation and an airtight envelope reduced heating needs. The house and pool are heated by Air Source Heat Pumps while photovoltaics panels are placed on the roof. The roof is also used for rainwater harvesting.
Given the waterside location of this project, we needed to carefully respond to the typology of the site, with particular reference to flooding. To address the flood risk, the floor level has been raised to perch on the highest point of the site —which is outside of the future flood risk zone — and the house spans out on a single level as the terrain slopes away, leaving the bedroom wing ‘floating’ over the landscape below.
As the house also sits facing the creek, it can be seen from the water, and the incoming car ferry from the mainland. As such, we wanted the house to sit quietly against the backdrop of trees, while feeling like it embraced the views when looking out. We achieved this by designing a single storey, long and low, black house. As such, it blends in against the backdrop of trees. Overhangs and the north orientation also minimize reflection on large glazed areas.
Our design is a low in profile, simple single-storey rectilinear form containing the main living and dining area with a bedroom ‘wing’ leading off it. The master suite is the exception — this has been kept separate from the other bedrooms and is situated at the other end of the living area with access to the deck outside.
Every room in the house has been situated to maximize views to the north. However, the living areas also look out onto the south-facing courtyard, allowing sunshine deep into the plan. This creates a dramatic impact as you look through the house to the gardens and water beyond and inside a sense of light and space.
The rooms should be simple, clean, efficient and uncomplicated to encourage children to be outside enjoying the space. The bedrooms should be places to sleep only and not as places to stay.
Our clients are a couple with three children ranging from 7-11 years of age. Family areas should have the ability to be cosy (log fire, etc) so one can watch a movie and the spaces in which dinner can be enjoyed should be open and communicate with the kitchen as modern life prefers.
The homeowner runs a successful construction industry consultancy that has done many well-known projects internationally. As such, it was a privilege to be chosen as the architect for their house as they know so many leading architects throughout the world. We were also proud to deliver this project in record time. We were appointed in March 2018 and planning was approved in August 2018. We started on site in September 2018 and completed the house 12 months later. From appointment to completion was less than 18 months.