Dream Eco Home on the South Coast

Neil and Stella Griffen were one of Baufritz’s first clients having approached Baufritz in mid-2006 with a dream for their ideal home on the South Coast. They loved the magnificent views of the existing house, but as a holiday home, it required too much maintenance and upkeep. Furthermore, the energy bills were extortionate –   in stark contrast to those of their relatively modern residential home that they were living in at that time.

What placed Baufritz in the pound seat was our promise of an energy-efficient home that could withstand the coastal winter weather as well as being relatively maintenance free. The design brief was to take advantage of the stunning views across Lyme Bay as well as stretch of the coastline known as “The Jurassic Coast”. As the house had two main aspects – a south easterly view across The Cobb (the beautiful fishing harbour), and a principal entrance elevation on the opposite (north-westerly) façade.

This presented an interesting challenge in itself: how do you make a home ‘face’ both ways without compromising on the interior layout of the home? Fortunately, the existing house offered clues on how not to do it, making the final design solution an easy one to achieve. TAs there was a passage running down the centre of the house, views were limited to either one way or the other. By removing this division, the house opened up and views looking both ways would become possible.

Lyme Regis as a whole is slowly slipping into the sea. The site was no different with the tricky addition plenty of underground water and a spring. This may not seem to be the most obvious place to start the design, however we asked ourselves: how do we turn these site constraints, including all the ground water, into a positive? Hannah Genders Landscaping therefore was crucial to the design process from day one. Hannah notes, “The landscaping was designed to complement the eco house elements creating an outside space which directly links to the stunning interior, including a Portland stone terrace and enclosed courtyard. Seating areas make the most of the wonderful views out to sea and soft, organic planting was chosen for this seaside location.”

We decided early on to use a flat roof, ensuring we could gain an extra top floor level without obscuring views from behind: the upper floor essentially occupies the space which was once dead-roof space.  The House Designer kept the colour and material palette simple: white render for the exterior walls complimented by shingle walls wrapping around the living areas on the middle floor (on two sides) principally to break up the mass of the house and emphasise the different elements of the façade composition. Using shingle in this manner was modern interpretation of a traditional material which brought a warmth and rich texture to the exterior. Lastly, the flat roof doubled up as a terrace accessible from the office / studio on the top floor. It is from this level that truly magnificent views across Lyme Bay can be captured.

The main entrance to the home is via a dramatic bridge – right into the heart of the home. This middle level has three distinct areas: upon entering, the formal living rooms are to one’s right, the main bedroom suite on the left, with a discreet double garage to the side with internal access to the house.  By raising the house up slightly, the views from this level are outstanding – this having being tested at an early design stage by standing on chairs in the old house to mimic the new floor levels!

The lower level contains the guest bedrooms, gym, family room and access to the outside –to the proposed pool deck on one side, and to a sunken, discreet courtyard on the other. This courtyard was designed as an inside-outside space: an outside sheltered room ideal on those hot summers days, giving welcome relief from the heat during the afternoon. As Hannah had proposed Portland Stone for the courtyard and terraced areas, we decided to continue with this floor finish internally to ensure continuity of the inside / outside space.

The office / studio on the top floor has inspirational views across Lyme Bay as well as offering the opportunity to enjoy views from the elevated roof terrace. An ideal space to enjoy the sunset on a warm summers’ evening.

Bafritz (UK) Ltd.

The Workplace

Oaktington Rd




email: [email protected]

web: www.baufritz.co.uk