Gallery: UK Eco-house Sold for world record £7.2m!

 
Sarah Featherstone's Orchid House

It’s not all doom and gloom for the UK property market: in the face of the country’s slowing or depreciating prices, Sarah Featherstone’s cutting-edge green home has sold for a record-breaking £7.2million, or $14.2million USD! The building, known as Orchid House, is one of the key homes on Lower Mill Estate, a project to turn a disused gravel pit into a beautiful 450-acre nature reserve.

Possibly to subsidize the £3,000 per square foot cost of the property, the building aims to generate more energy than it consumes, making use of geothermal heating. The house can be adapted to any occasion, be it a family holiday or a large reception, due to its flexible living spaces. Inhabitants and visitors to the property can be entertained by the glass-sided badger set installed in the garden.

The inspiration for the form comes from the flora and fauna on the estate, with living and dining areas appearing to fan out from the building’s core. The form is created using laminated veneer lumber – not great for the planet, as it consists of layers of wood held together with adhesives – but it does stay beautiful longer than conventional timber. This lumber is then clad with timber shingles with a camouflage pattern burnt into them. The main living spaces join the home’s pontoon to float over the lake.

The buyer chose to remain anonymous, but rumor has it they work in the entertainment industry – and may well be a household name, going by the celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Kylie Minogue who’ve expressed an interest so far. We may have to wait until 2011 to find out though – this is when the house will be completed and become home to the mystery buyer.

+ Sarah Featherstone + Lower Mill Estate + Designer Eco-Reserve in the Cotswolds, England @ Inhabitat

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11 Comments

  1. auburneng February 8, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    The best part about this fantasy structure is that it is so eco-friendly that the designer decided to use LVL in stead of plain lumber. That is really classy. The fact that the price of this thing is 7.2 million just goes to show how very uneco-friendly this thing is. If it was eco-friendly, then it would be quick and easy to make. This is a great example of how a designer can just lie and say that something is eco-friendly and people will believe it.

  2. woodduck June 12, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    I have to agree with hmmarquard’s comments that the price along puts it in that category of the 3rd or 4th or 15th home for some flashy entertainer who wants to buy into the green buzz world–green homes like this are just unfeasible for the rest of us lowly types, and until the rest of us lowly types can afford green homes, the few $$$$$ ones aren’t going to change much here on Earth, are they?

  3. hmmarquard June 6, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Bart Bohac, you’re right on in all of your commentary!

    To say I am not fond of this design would be an understatement. I can’t comment on the “green-ness” as there doesn’t seem to really be any info on what is green about it other than spatial flexibility (although hosting a party and having a family vaca don’t seem like totally incompatible uses that need extra flexibility designed in).

    Any “house” that sells for that much is disgusting to me. Especially if it is yet another 3rd or 4th or 15th “home” for some big bucks entertainer who wants to buy into the green buzz world.

  4. RichardMillington June 6, 2008 at 9:25 am

    We don’t have mosquitos here in the Cotswolds, or at least I don’t think we do BJ.

    Still, what an amazing house. Must try to find out some more information about it.

  5. greg.org June 6, 2008 at 9:22 am

    this house will be built and that check will clear as soon as the Eiffel Tower gets its new addition. Seriously, this sounds like the most unsubstantiated piece of PR fluff in the world. Uncritical worship of developers’ and architects’ renderings and claims is an embarrassment of the whole design blogosphere.

    And while I’m not an expert in laminated timber, I can say that throwing around breathless judgments about sustainability and longevity without a link or reference to supporting evidence really does not help the site’s credibility, either.

    A 7-million-pound house will stand for a couple of hundred-plus years, if only because it cost so damn much. OTOH, it’s hard to reconcile a thousand years of timber building with the silly idea that laminated timber will somehow “stay beautiful longer.”

  6. BJ BJ June 6, 2008 at 7:33 am

    I can’t help but wonder just how pristine this “nature reserve” will remain once the new celebrity owners spend their first spring in a mosquito infested swamp. ;-)

  7. Carbon Offsets Daily June 5, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Making green look good is helpful way to tap into mainstream imagination. It doesn’t seem like the most ideal design for high-density living…

  8. BartBohac June 5, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Stunned by the suggestion that laminated veneer lumber isn\’t good for the planet. It\’s manufactured by slicing logs into thin veneers and gluing these together the most structurally-efficient orientation of the fibers. Since the veneers needn\’t be continuous and flawed portions are easily removed, the source logs can come from smaller diameter, not-necessarily-straight new-growth trees. Elimination of nearly all natural flaws and proper orientation to stresses allows framing members to be much smaller and lighter than equivalent solid timbers cut from mature trees, further enhancing the efficiency of the overall design by reducing the necessary strength of supporting elements.

    The author is presumably referring to potential risk to the occupants (not to the planet) of inhalation of off-gased formaldehyde from adhesives, but since LVL is manufactured with phenol-formaldehyde resin, not the infamous and far more volatile urea-formaldehyde resin, this still seems like a rather ill-informed, knee-jerk reaction.

    I\’m a new reader, and perhaps expect too much, but Inhabitat seems to be a superficial promotion of the fashion and appearance of greenness, not the substance; photo-heavy and content-light.

  9. Brian Lang June 5, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    What about a non-computer generated image? That would be useful.

  10. Chas June 5, 2008 at 9:45 am

    The computer image of this, shows the house as a freestanding scuptule isolated in a natural setting but when you go to the Lower Mill Estate website they show all the houses packed in together in a tight community. I don’t think that grand view from the living room is going to be so grand. Not quite the same to look out across the lake and see it packed with condo’s & timeshares.
    When you go to the Featherstone website you see the same thing. There is a overall site plan the shows that there will be a houses packed in there pretty much as tight as any suburnan neighborhood.
    maybe a big chunk of that 7.2million is to buy all the neighboring properties.

  11. Scott June 5, 2008 at 8:38 am

    well thats one crazy casa. its so green it doesnt have a driveway! canoe in and out! and it looks kinda like the gorgons that are sitting around in Zelda 64. i totally want one.

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