A self-build woodland retreat in Hampshire

An existing building and glorious woodland location inspired architect Tristan Wigfall to create a modern yet sympathetic country home in Hampshire

By Sophia Blackwell | 18 July 2017

An existing building and glorious woodland location inspired architect Tristan Wigfall to create a modern yet sympathetic country home in Hampshire.

When Jenny Stevinson decided to relocate from London to Hampshire, she gave architect Tristan Wigfall at Alma-Nac architects (020 7928 2092; alma-nac.com) a clear design brief for her new home. ‘With three adult children, Jenny wanted a house that could accommodate large family gatherings when her children and grandkids visit but, as she spends a lot of time in the house on her own, it needed to be able to adapt to single occupancy, too,’ explains Wigfall.

Luckily for Jenny, she didn’t have to search too far for a suitable plot. ‘A timber bungalow set in a woodland site had been in the family since 1955,’ Wigfall continues. ‘It was a summer house, basic in construction and falling into disrepair. We carried out some studies to see whether we could retain and refurbish it and bring it up to modern standards, but it soon became apparent that the amount of work we would have to do didn’t stack up in terms of cost.’

Wigfall started looking at designing a new house on the site, drawing adjacency diagrams while working closely with his client to determine her requirements. ‘Because Jenny had an emotional connection with the original bungalow, she wanted the new house to reference the old building. We decided to build on the same footprint and maintain the same orientation, so the new home could take advantage of the beautiful, natural woodland setting,’ says Wigfall.

To make room for the required five bedrooms, the house has been designed with an asymmetrical roof in order to accommodate a second storey on the northern end of the building. ‘You don’t realise the additional storey is there until you come round to the more private garden on the western side of the house,’ he says. The second storey houses Jenny’s bedroom, en suite and painting studio/guest bedroom. On the ground floor, the guest bedrooms have been designed so they can close off when they’re not in use, helping to reduce the perceived size of the abode.