well as practical, accessible things for a ‘forever home’ like a ramp to the front door and downstairs bedroom with an en-suite, there is a kitchen/diner with parliament-hinged doors onto the living room that can open flat against the wall – and thereby open up the whole space. Also, if it’s a summer occasion, the 3 metre bifold doors from the living and dining areas lead onto a full-length covered terrace along the back of the house.


To take the open-plan theory one stage further, they decided to open up the middle of the house completely, and have two windows front and back, letting light flood in. Melanie comments: “As well as the back-to-front view and added light coming in it gave us the added wow factor to the overall feeling of the house.” And in fact if the trees surrounding the plot were not there, the house would be a glowing beacon when lit up at night. A ‘floating mezzanine’ floor is the only thing that breaks up the 9 metre double-height hallway that splits the house in half, providing a large landing which also serves as a study and sitting area.

The chalet-style house is built with a straightforward double skin of blocks plus render construction. Additional steel frames support the front and rear glazing as well as roof overhangs and the two balconies to bedrooms on the front of the house. Mark notes that due to the open core, they had to design and install additional steel supports/frames to prevent lateral movement of the big windows to front and rear, the front


one being floor-to-apex. “Normally this would be incorporated into the first floor structure but because we have a mezzanine there was nowhere to anchor.” He adds: “This caused a bit of a headache as the window installers did not advise this at the project start and despite being repeatedly asked, said the windows were self-supporting. When they came to do final measurements, they then asked ‘What about the support frames?’”

As a result, Mark and Melanie had to get the frames designed, manufactured and installed in a hurry to avoid what he says would have been major delays. In the end, the design they came up with is almost invisible, fitting the modern, minimal look of the house, with no bolts or plates.

They engaged local architect Deborah Somerville, who took the scheme through planning, and also proposed the one major change to Mark and Melanie’s scheme. That was to include a second void at the back of the property so that the mezzanine would fully ‘float’ across the hall space.

Because the bathroom that would have been included to first floor in this space was no longer there, it meant that valuable roof storage space above it was removed. Therefore they decided to extend the lounge by 50 per cent to an 8 metre length, with a pitched roof above it. This area provides convenient storage, accessed off the dressing room in the centre of the master suite.


The house consists of regularly-sized, spacious rooms, with a layout designed by the couple

november/december 2017

The ‘mezzanine’ bridging the hallway is a pleasant place to sit


“Seeing the layout of the building as it came out of the ground to DPC level, it all became very real” Mark Goldman

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