The architectural style that we have chosen is Georgian Regency and is illustrated in the elevation diagrams below:
Georgian style architecture is derived from and inspired by the design’s of the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio who lived from 1508-1580. His work was based on the symmetrical and perspective forms of classical temple architecture of antiquity. As its name suggests it is a neo-classical style of architecture that became popular in England during the Hanoverian period from 1720 to 1840. This period spans the reigns of Kings George I to George IV. The Regency style of Georgian architecture evolved during the period when George IV was Prince Regent from 1811 to 1820. It is a lighter and more elegant form with stuccoed facades, an entrance that is usually framed with columns and quite often incorporates bay windows. Above all Georgian architects understood how to achieve bright interiors despite the northern latitude of Great Britain. By designing rooms to have high ceilings and incorporating cadences of large sash-style windows a bright overall luminosity is achieved. However the lighting effect is not a boring uniform level throughout but exhibits modulation of light and shade. It is this aspect of Georgian architecture that we find appealing. This is particularly so when compared to our current house which is of the “Arts & Crafts” style with low ceilings and squat wide windows providing quite poor light levels, especially in winter.
The elevation diagrams above show a building that incorporates many aspects of the Regency style. Overall the walls are of a light cream coloured stucco with a honey coloured limestone plinth and string courses. To the front the main entrance has a portico of four limestone, Tuscan style columns which support a limestone entablature. Above the portico at first floor level there is a venetian or Palladian window with limestone mouldings set under a broken triangular-pediment. To each side of the front entrance there are bay windows typical if the Regency style although in this case they are octagonal in form.
The design was provided to us by the firm of architects based in London and Winchester known as Adam Architecture, ( see http://www.adamarchitecture.com ) not to be confused with their namesake of the Georgian period. It is a firm that is regarded as the leaders in producing modern designs in the Georgian style. The lead architect was Nigel Anderson assisted by Matt Beaton.
The floor plans are shown below. The fundamental design of the house was described by Nigel as being like a donut, that is it has a central, galleried stair-well with all the principal rooms of the ground and first floors arranged around the centre.
From the front door of the ground floor access is gained to the entrance hall or vestibule which leads through to the main stair hall. The stairs to the first floor are in the style of an imperial staircase. This is a staircase with divided flights with the first flight rising to a half landing from where it divides into two symmetrical flights, both rising with an equal number of steps and turns to the next floor.
On either side of the entrance hall there is a lavatory, store room for guest coats and a lift to provide disabled access to the three floors of the house. The inclusion of a lift necessitates a secondary emergency access/exit, in the event of a lift failure, to and from the basement in the form of a spiral staircase . This spiral staircase to the basement is also accessed via a fire door from the entrance hall.
In “donut” fashion the main rooms of the ground floor are accessed from the stair hall. These rooms include the drawing room, dining room, library and kitchen. the drawing room and dining rooms are the main formal rooms of the house. As well as doors from the stair hall to the dining room, the dining room can also be entered directly from the drawing room. There is also a door from the kitchen to the dining room so that meals can be served directly from the kitchen. When not entertaining guests the main family living area will be the “snug” and kitchen where the snug is accessed directly from the kitchen. To the side of the kitchen is a conservatory or orangery which also comprises part of the main family living area, as well as giving access to the garden. The three large casement doors of the orangery can be opened up in summer so that the house and garden integrate together. At the top end of the orangery a staircase leads down directly to the swimming pool hall in the basement, so that there is easy access from the garden to the swimming pool in summer. The library is intended to provide a place for shelves for our collection of books, desks complete with computers for my wife and I to be able to work at home, and a place to relax while listening to the hi-fi system. The boot room serves as a utility room with a sink for cleaning up produce and flowers from the garden and an access to the house where muddy boots can be removed after working in the garden. The boot room leads into the house via the kitchen.
On the first floor the two flights of the staircase turn towards each other to form a galleried landing which overlooks the ground floor of the stair hall. Above the staircase the ceiling is vaulted and incorporates two conical, glazed lanterns that provide natural illumination to the hall. To the front of the house the landing opens out to a seating area which looks out over the portico to the garden beyond through the venetian window. There are six bedrooms and four bathrooms off the landing accessed via by lobbies lit from above by light pipes that convey sunlight from the roof. Bedroom 1 is the master suite which incorporates a bedroom, bathroom and dressing room linked by an octagonal lobby with a vaulted ceiling and roof light. The main guest bedroom (Bedroom 6 on the plan) incorporates the opposite front bay window and an en-suite bathroom. Bedrooms 2 and 3 share Bathroom 2which is sandwiched between them. Similarly Bedrooms 4 and 5 share Bathroom 3. The laundry room is located on the first floor which is an unusual feature of the design. It is more usual for the laundry to be either in the kitchen, or a utility room off the kitchen, or in the basement. The logic for having the laundry on the first floor is that clothes to be washed are taken off in the bedrooms and the laundered items stored in wardrobes either in bedrooms or the dressing room. Similarly bed linen is removed from the beds with the laundered items being stored in the linen cupboard on the first floor. Consequently it makes sense to locate the laundry room on the first floor too, obviating the need to transport laundry items needlessly up and down the stairs.
The basement provides accommodation for a swimming pool complete with changing room and sauna and steam room. It also has a gym/games room as well as a TV room and wine cellar. Three separate plant rooms are also set aside to house heating and ventilation equipment, pool filtration and heating, hot water calorifiers, cold water storage, hot & cold water circulation pumps, water softeners and IT and multi-media equipment. Access to the basement is via the lift or by the stairs into the pool hall from the orangery. There is also the spiral staircase adjacent to the lift. In the event of a fire being detected by the fire alarm system the lift will be disabled and therefore unusable and should the fire also block access to the main staircase to the orangery the spiral staircase serves as an emergency exit from the basement.