Country house in Surrey 1

Context

Country house in Surrey 1 is a substantial country house, set within its own sweeping landscape, with far reaching views over the Weald towards the South Downs, a mile or so outside of the historic village centre at Lurgashall. It is situated on a quiet country lane about 4.5 miles south of Haslemere and 18 or so miles south of Guildford.
The house sits with its own contiguous parkland, with a close setting of formal gardens and hard landscaping. There is a walled garden, with an orchard below the house, over which the house has grand vistas to the south-west. To the south and east, it overlooks a number of fields and paddocks that group around a retained with about 70 acres, including 28 acres of woodland, with the house at its heart. The house is principally accessed off Jobson’s Lane, along a distinguished carriage drive, though there are additional entrances to the land further south on the Lane.
The house sits in the heart of the landholding, a hundred metres or so to the east of the public highway. The house is nested close to the rising bank behind, so that there is just room for a modest guest cottage and 3-car garage behind the house, set around a small carriage yard. On the other two sides are open countryside and woodland, while at the front, from the approach, there is a large walled garden, with a number of outbuildings ancillary to the use of the house and the management of the land. The house itself is a large sandstone edifice of around 700sqm. For a house of this size and quality, the outbuildings are modest and discrete and there are no barns or farmyard structures that would be usual with a house and landholding of this extent.

It is clear from the presence of a much older walled garden that there must have once been a much older house on the site than is there now. The current house was rebuilt from the foundations up in the immediate years after the end of the 2nd World War and replaced a much larger older house that was demolished. In which case, it would be another example of the change that took place in the rural economy, when so many country houses were lost, demolished or found new uses. The only part of the house that might remain is the old basement that sits partly below the yard and partly under the new house. The house that was built in the 1940’s recycled much of the stonework from the demolished house and, while only 60-70 years old, it has the appearance of a much older, perhaps Regency period or early Victorian house. The walls are all made in rubble sandstone with dressed corners and window surrounds.
The house was enlarged by a single storey on the east side, by a two storey rear extension along the back and on the west (frontal approach) elevation. The house was also completely rewired, plumbed and generally brought up to a fine standard befitting the sorts of demands that current owners have of their country homes.

Design concept

The strategy has evolved to solve these problems with mostly minor internal alterations, but facilitated by a pair of key extensions, both very modest in scale. The front balcony extension which overlooks the view is now to be incorporated into the house in an enlarged Bed 3.
The rear extension is much more alike to the architectural and material character of the remaining house. It follows the same combination of sandstone and brick, handled with the same windows and details. This extension enables a new stair to be taken up to first floor level and a new bathroom to Bed 4, so that the house now flows far better upstairs. The benefit of the rear extension accrues with a new covered outdoor access to the garage straight into a new utility and boot room area. This enables the kitchen to be extended and, with the addition of a new bay window to the east and a new rooflight in the existing leaded flat roof in this part, to afford better views and light to the outside. It dramatically improves the amenity of the house.
In addition to these extensions, there are minor additions of a window in the front west elevation and a pair of dormers in the attic floor, but on the rear hidden north elevation.

The external walling was handmade clay brick, tile and sandstone to match that of the 2005 extensions.

Client

Private

Location

West Sussex
United Kingdom


Architects

Stedman Blower Architects
Damien Blower
Karolina Szałankiewicz


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