Back in 1981 the architect’s clients created a modest self- build called Willowbrook named after the plot’s surrounding trees and brook. Later they commissioned Paul Archer Design to extend and rejuvenate the house after many years as a rental property. Rebuilt, Willowbrook is a spacious and light filled house, offering wide views connected to the garden. The interior now offers flexible living arrangements with additional space added to the side wing.
Roof lights and double height glazing make the most of the added volumes, flooding the tall internal space s with natural light.
Rebuilding Willowbrook corrected existing failing elements discovered on site, improving the structure and upgrading its sustainable value. A sculptural red steel bridge leads into the house spanning across a lower courtyard under the driveway. On entrance glimpses of the surrounding greenery can be seen through the large rear windows.
The front hallway has been relocated to form a central spine to the house, allowing all the rooms on the upper floors to be accessed more readily. A secondary kitchen can be found concealed behind one of the dark timber cupboards. This same dark timber has been used for the flooring and mezzanine bi-folding doors, creating a a material link along with the brick throughout all spaces.
Rooms have been designed to allow adaptation for future use. In the main double height space, the sliding partitions close to form new private areas to accommodate guests. The openness of the tall rooms can be enjoyed now, or split into additional upper spaces. In an attempt to limit any environmental impact, the original and reclaimed bricks were reused with a mixture of new bricks added to the mix. Willowbrook preserves memories of the earlier self-build, while delivering modern spaces that exceed the client’s expectations.