Skene Catling de la Peña Architect has designed the dairy house located in an 850 acre Estate in somerset, England. The conversion of a former Dairy to a five-bedroom house with a small pool. Pragmatically the space was to be re-planned; lean-to sheds removed and an extension added to create a total of four to five bedrooms, three bathrooms, more generous circulation space with rooms of better proportions. The brief changed during the design; what was originally to be a letting property became a retreat for the Client; a place to escape the main Estate. It was to be discreet with the intervention to appear as a natural extension of the existing structure. The design set out to appear ‘un-designed’.
The design was to combine privacy and seclusion with openness to the wider landscape. The inspiration was both literal, in the stacked timber in the yard opposite, and literary, in the 18th century ‘La Petite Maison – An Architectural Seduction’, architectural treatise and erotic novella by Jean-Francois de Bastide.
The goal was to use as many local materials as possible. Estate timber is planked and dried in the storage barns in the farmyard opposite the site, and the method of drying – where raw planks are separated by spacers to allow air circulation – became the generator of the logic and aesthetic of the extension. The glass was layered in the same manner. The pieces increase in depth towards the base to reinforce a sense of weight and rustication.