Thanks to designers at Guttfield Architecture, a quaint Victorian farmhouse in Harpsden, Henley on Thames has been given new life. Named for the clients’ favorite tree, the Cherry Tree House is a sustainably renovated low-energy home that celebrates the English countryside through locally sourced materials, lush gardens and eco-friendly elements.
The flint panels on the ground floor are sourced from local craftsmen, while the concrete foundations utilize a recycled cement mix. Designers aligned the new joints with the window openings to highlight the original cottage dwelling, and the overall form of the building pays homage to the old design. A majority of the construction includes lightweight timber, though it is also thoughtfully insulated with triple glazed windows and a large roof overhang to create shade.
Architects removed the crumbling additions to the existing home (which consisted of a cottage, stables and coach house) to replace them with new extensions to complement the main structure. “Instead of wastefully demolishing all of the buildings and erasing the site’s history, it was key to our approach to retain the original cottage and make it the inspiration for the new architecture on the site,” said Fred Guttfield, Director of Guttfield Architecture. “As a result, the old and new come together harmoniously with each other and the landscape. All rooms on the south side of the house have been designed to enjoy views of the Cherry Tree and Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty beyond.”
They added two lovely balconies on the south side of the home and lengthened the windows to provide ample natural light and ventilation. Inside, there are plenty of common areas for family and friends, as well as a separate library and living space in the new extension. The kitchen highlights a round plywood dining table with a modern cooking space, and a cork staircase provides a unique and sustainable material to connect the different levels.
Photography by Will Scott