Lincoln Miles and Lisa Traxler transformed an uninspiring Seventies home in an idyllic Isle of Wight wooded glade into a rural haven 'house in the trees'.
Old and new structures group around a lush lawn, creating a series of linked spaces that bring together work and domestic life
Lincoln, Lisa and Ellie relax in front of the enamelled artwork designed by artist Lisa for the exterior of the new-build extension
Passionate about design, and passionate in his antipathy for the architectural status quo, Lincoln Miles moved to the Isle of Wight in 2004, with his partner Lisa Traxler and her teenage daughter Ellie. There, in a wooded glade five minutes from the beach, they bought a two-bedroom Seventies bungalow, and reworked it into a multifunctional family home.
From a distance, their Grand Designs Isle of Wight house in the trees could be mistaken for a Midwestern log cabin nestling among the trees. Up close, it reveals a series of rising structures clad in contrasting materials – warm birch and corrugated fibre cement. ‘There were some experiments,’ says Lincoln. ‘The burnt-larch cladding and the horizontal stacking of the sills had never been done before.’
Floor-to-ceiling glass in the kitchen brings the wooded surroundings indoors, giving views out to the water pool near the main entrance of the house in the trees
The kitchen mixes lime-green cabinets with freestanding furniture with an airy feel that makes it the centre of the new living space
The original bungalow and a new living space form two sides of an inner courtyard, completed by a wall of trees to the north and a studio-cum-garage to the west. Floor-to-ceiling glazed doors slide back, opening up the whole of the east wing ground floor – kitchen, living room and glass-roofed hallway. A timber-framed tower, accessed through the kitchen, leads up to the first-floor bathroom and dressing room. Above them, a bedroom nestles in the treetops.
All this sailed through planning but met sterner opposition at home. ‘Lisa she didn’t want a “show-off box”,’ admits Lincoln. Instead, the linked spaces vary in age and style. ‘I’m glad we kept some of the old house,’ Lisa says. ‘It makes it feel connected to the Isle of Wight building’s history.’
A wall of unburnt birch that was left over from the exterior cladding helps create a Fifties atmosphere in the snug
Lisa and Miles used a mixture of warm birch cladding and decking with corrugated fibre cement panels that they coated with yoghurt and cow dung to create an aged appearance for their Grand Designs Isle of Wight house.
Photography: Rachael Smith