A superb new build in Kent

A superb new build in Kent

A remarkable new-build three-bedroom family home with an annexe located at the edge of the village of Blean, in Canterbury.
Blean Canterbury
March 2023

Featuring traditional form and contemporary detailing this is new-build was constructed close to Canterbury to create a stunning, spacious home.

The striking catslide roof, projecting bay, and red brick chimney are all references to the mediaeval timber-framed hall houses found in the area. The modern oak boarding, floor-to-ceiling windows, and the generous annexe provide contemporary counterpoints. 

Linden Hurst is an affordable dream house. With a footprint of over 3,300 square feet, each room is extraordinarily spacious. The superb design is the brainchild of JCA architect Andrew Clague.

Planning a new build in Kent, among well-preserved period properties, is not straightforward. There are many factors to consider - context, orientation, ground conditions, access, and much more. At James Clague Architects, we design buildings which mould to their sites. We analyse the area around the property in detail and plan homes which artistically belong to their surroundings.

The brief

A builder was offered an attractive piece of land in the Canterbury countryside and decided to build a family home that would be spacious but cost-effective. It would need to fit respectfully into the growing community at Blean.

Choosing James Clague Architects

The client employed James Clague Architects to review the design drafted by a different firm. After analysing the drawing, Ecology and Arboricultural reports, and context, we decided the existing design did not make the most out of the land and available budget. The main problems we identified were exposure to road noise and lack of privacy.

We quickly got to work to provide the design and specifications for a more cost-efficient, aesthetically harmonious, and practical scheme. Even though the deadline was tight, we ensured the plan was well-thought-out in every detail.

The design

The attractive new build is an exquisite blend of contemporary and traditional features. 

The positioning 

The positioning of the building was crucial for this project. JCA drew the house so it would face the beautiful tree-lined driveway leading to it, rather than the neighbours’ house. The building now shields the back garden from the road noise and hides it from view, offering privacy. Additionally, the reconfiguration provides a South-facing garden, which gets bathed in sunlight throughout the day - that is on a good day, of course!

The visual link between the house and the garden is much improved, too. The garden is immediately visible from the main entrance. This, combined with the floor-to-ceiling windows, offers a full view of the property from inside the house. It immerses you in the Kent countryside.

The traditional details

While the house is modern inside, the exterior deliberately references the Wealden Hall House - a type of vernacular mediaeval timber-framed hall house traditional of the South Of England. The Old Bakery in Hamstreet (Ashford) is a gorgeous example of this type of building. (Please see Wealden hall House picture opposite (image courtesy Sandersons Estate Agents)

The key elements of a Wealden House are a catslide roof, a red brick chimney, timber-framing, and jettied end bays. We tastefully added these traditional features to Linden Hurst.

The entrance is protected from the elements by a central projecting bay. This is larger than a traditional jettied end bay - about double the size. To give a contemporary twist to this traditional detail, we inserted two separate large windows on either side. These offer views of the driveway with increased field of vision, as well as a bright landing space and dressing room. 

When it came to adding a fireplace to the building, we opted for a fully-exposed red brick chimney. This comes into view when driving down Whitstable Road and makes the whole property look very Kentish.

We also placed a catslide roof over the utility room for both aesthetic and practical reasons - it completes the Wealden House look and it allowed us to create more space on the ground floor without having to extend the first floor. 

The windows and exterior

The positioning of the aluminium windows in the front of the house appears to be random, but is strategic. Andrew Clague chose to design them based on the interior plan of the house - each window placement emphasises the visual power of the spaces. For example, there is a floor-to-ceiling window by the staircase.

The exterior of the house is modernly decorated with oak boarding. 

The interior

At JCA, we design houses with furniture in, so we can position lighting, windows, and power points accurately. Adding furniture to the plans allows us to create rooms that are spacious enough to fit generous furniture people can freely move around. We used this technique to draw Linden Hurst, too. 

The house comprises three bedrooms, a kitchen with a carefully-designed island, two bathrooms, a living room with a fireplace, a study, a pantry, a dressing room, a utility room, and a plant room. Each room, including the bathrooms, is very spacious and bright. 

The annexe and energy systems

The house is completed by a beautiful oak-boarded carport incorporating an annexe. This can be used as an office or guest suite.

Finally, we added solar panels, electric car charging, and an air source heat pump to make the property more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly.

The approval process and build

We applied for planning in summer 2021. Detailing and the build were completed in just a year. 

Gaining planning consent was straightforward. The materials used match those found in the local area, the design fits perfectly within its surroundings, and the building is sympathetically placed. It was easy to persuade the Council that the scheme was positive for the area. 

There was a slight issue with the drainage, as the property is on the Stodmarsh SPA/SAC/Ramsar site. At the time, no new overnight accommodation was allowed in the area. We argued our case with the Local Council, who eventually granted us permission to connect to the public drainage. Thanks to our expertise and connections, we can help clients navigate negotiations with the local authorities.

The client’s feedback

The client was very involved in the project - he built the house himself. He was incredibly pleased with the design and loved every detail, especially the chimney and catslide roof. He also appreciated the smooth delivery of our plans on a tight timeframe. 

“Our design had grace and presence and made the most out of the site and budget, “ comments Andrew Clague.

The property was offered for sale at  £1.6M, which is remarkable. The buyer will live in a dream house.

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