The Chalfont Home is gorgeous timber residence located adjacent to the Rye Nature Reserve in East Sussex – one of Britain’s most cherished conservation sites. Built by local firm RX Architects, the family house seamlessly blends into its unique natural setting while leaving as little carbon footprint as possible. The structure was built with numerous sustainable features – including highly-insulated timber cladding and solar thermal panels.
The rugged landscape of the nature reserve presented quite few challenges for the project. As the sea receded over the centuries, shingle deposits created a delicate, unstable topography. A small bungalow and a few sheds were previously located on-site, but were all in severe disrepair. Instead of renovating the existing buildings, the architects decided to build a contemporary timber structure that would fit in organically with the natural surroundings.
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The architects decided to clad the home in vertical larch boarding, both externally and internally. The exterior cladding will gradually take on a silver patina over the years. The wooden cladding continues throughout the interior, enhanced by the natural stone flooring. The light-colored walls and floors provide a neutral canvas for the sophisticated interior design.
The home takes advantage of numerous energy-efficient features. An air-source heat pump works with solar thermal panels to provide the home’s hot water and heating needs.
Additionally, all of the windows and doors are either triple- or double-glazed, further insulating the home and conserving energy while letting in an abundance of natural light. The home is also equipped with a number of wide windows that perfectly frame stunning views of the reserve.
All these sustainable features are wrapped in a beautiful, contemporary package that pays homage to the various local heritage structures in the area. The timber home looks out of the reserve to the Mary Standford Lifeboat building, built in 1882. This structure was a pioneering project at its time and is a beloved architectural icon for the area today. To echo the historic building’s presence, the Chalfont home was created in the vernacular shape of the building, devoid of traditional gutters or eaves to emphasize the home’s simple volume.
Photography by Ashley Gendek