Underwood

Buckinghamshire

Set in an area of outstanding beauty, Underwood required a gentle hand to manage the sprawling series of volumes that had been built around the original home over the years. Unusually for one of our projects, the clients had no need for additional space, but required an audacious and innovative approach to the existing arrangement of tight corridors, pokey rooms and incongruous programme.

As such, the existing envelope was not enlarged, but re-imagined with new apertures and landscaping to create a more harmonious, flowing relationship between the interior and exterior. Charred timber was introduced to sit elegantly next to the existing red brick and calm the palette of materials into a more rigorous motif.

The warren of small rooms and corridors was opened up into a series of spaces that can read as one or get closed down by large, concealed doors for privacy. Crucially, the entrance to the house was opened up between floors with a double height space and large winding stairs, becoming of a property of this scale.

Wherever possible, positive components of the existing fabric were highlighted, such as the ceiling joists, which were exposed and maintained to offer a rustic contribution to the clean lines and crisp aesthetic of the new interventions. Where new objects were provided, these were designed bespoke by Mclaren Excell, such as floating stairwells, minimal joinery and steel ironmongery, a stand out item of which was the large entrance handle encased within the charred timber door.

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