Lime Trees

Architecture Residential Berkhamstead , United Kingdom

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Media Contact

11 Images

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1. Front elevation

A projecting gable creates an entrance porch.

Charlie Birchmore Photography

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2. Front entrance

High quality paving and brick walls define the entrance approach.

Charlie Birchmore Photography

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3. Rear Elevation

The east-west orientation gives maximum light to the master bedroom.

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4. Rear garden.

View towards the house from the rear garden boundary.

Charlie Birchmore Photography

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5. Ground floor kitchen

The island kitchen connects the lower level living area.

Sophie Mutevelian Photography

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6. Ground floor living room

Split level open plan with full width bi-fold doors

Charlie Birchmore Photography

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7. Ground floor dining area

Exposed brickwork contrasts with plastered surfaces and reclaimed lights from Czech railway stations.

Charlie Birchmore Photography

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8. Ground floor stairs

The entrance hallway and floating bespoke staircase.

Sophie Mutevelian Photography

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9. Ground floor wall

Exposed brickwork is highlighted by recessed light fittings.

Sophie Mutevelian Photography

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10. First floor

Linear rooflights illuminate the first floor landing.

Charlie Birchmore Photography

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11. First floor

Bathroom with backlit mirrored cabinet.

Sophie Mutevelian Photography

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A bespoke, modern house built on land which formed part of the garden to an existing Victorian style house. The existing property received an extension and several internal and external changes to accommodate the new house.

Questions and Answers

What was the brief?

The current home owners wanted an antidote to their existing Victorian style home which had undergone a series of linear extensions and had poor spatial flow and limited connections to external spaces. The house was also poorly insulated and had traditional windows and an inefficient heating system that was expensive to run.

The brief was for a series of design options that explored refurbishing, extending and potentially replacing the existing house whilst providing Mike and Teri with a new highly insulated and modern family home. The old, extended and refurbished house was to be sold in order to pay for the construction of the new house.

What were the key challenges?

Local planning policies were challenging however we produced several feasibility studies before concluding that it would be possible for the land to support an additional dwelling. Large Lime trees overshadowed the site to the south and the existing house overlooked the main site area.

What were the solutions?

The existing house needed to be significantly modified to re-orientate the front entrance away from the new property. We designed a new entrance wing that enabled the front door and new windows to face the new driveway. This reduced overlooking onto the new dwelling and supported the planning application.
Due to shading by large trees on the southern boundary, the new dwelling was positioned to allow maximum benefit of the eastern and western light so the main living spaces at the rear receive afternoon and evening sun. This orientation meant that overlooking issues were minimised whilst protecting the existing house and its trees.

How is the project unique?

The house was designed with an open plan ground floor, creating views through the property and to provide a connection to wherever the sun is positioned. The ground floor steps down to create a tiered progression from the front of the property to the rear. This means an increase in room heights to 3m at the rear and allowed for a sunken living room which leads onto a lower rear terrace via a level threshold.

What are the sustainability features?

The property was designed with a cantilevered first floor and roof form which allowed for an extra 300mm of insulation to be added to the upper levels. The property therefore benefits from a super insulated and air-tight envelope which keeps the internal temperature very stable. Underfloor heating has been provided throughout and high quality windows and doors. According to the homeowners, even in winter, the underfloor heating only needs to be on for an hour a day to heat the whole house!


Project size

250 m2

Site size

1600 m2

Project Budget


Completion date


Building levels


Project team

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Unit One Architects


Twenty 16 Design Ltd

Environmental Consultants

Structural Soils Ltd

Soil Surveyors

Aitchison Raffety

Planning Consultants

Ian Keen Ltd

Arboricultural Consultants

A E Butler & Partners

Structural Engineer

ARC Construction Consultants Ltd

Quantity Surveyors

Mark Scott Construction