Gregory Phillips Architects is an internationally known award-winning team of highly skilled architects and interior designers who offer a fully inclusive home design service to their customers. Priding themselves on delivering luxurious homes that, look, flow and feel exactly as their clients imagined, they create contemporary classic designs which are individually tailored to each client’s taste and requirements. Their Berkshire house projects is one of their most award-winning and included a two storey home on the banks of the Thames set in 12 acres of country estate. Gregory Phillips Architects share the bespoke project which saw them undertake the design, build and interior design of the entire home…
Project name: Berkshire House
Floor area: 665m2 (a two story house)
Project time taken: 2 years construction
The client’s main requirements were for an outstanding residence which would integrate well with its immediate and far reaching surroundings. The brief was to create a family home incorporating a number of internal and external recreational spaces and facilities. The project incorporates a gym and steam room, play rooms, external swimming pool, tennis courts, cricket practice area plus single golf fairway.
The orientation, contours, views and existing vegetation all informed the building, the position of the previous house governed the position of the new dwelling, although this proved to provide the most desirable location, upon the edge of a natural plateau.
What was the creation / planning process?
Gregory Phillips Architects designed the building, interiors and landscaping of this substantial modern country house along the banks of the River Thames in Berkshire. By working closely with the clients, Gregory has created a contemporary family home that connects seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. The design was inspired by traditional country houses with adjoining stable yards. This design evolved into a restrained plan of generously-proportioned spaces surrounding a flint-walled inner-courtyard linked by galleried corridors faced with caramelised oak wall panelling and dark basalt stone floors.
The extensive countryside views afforded from the site become evident only upon entry into the house itself, adding a strong element of grandeur to the approach and entry. The formal entrance is made by crossing an enclosed reflecting pool leading into a double-height space, from here the building is predominantly glazed to face the far-reaching north-western views with terracing at each level. The gardens incorporate an infinity edged swimming pool and a tennis court, whilst the landscaping follows a simple, semi-formal layout leading to the extensive grounds and open-countryside beyond.
Fluid relationships between indoors and outdoors are maintained via banks of glass and vast sliding doors that open out onto the garden. The balconies and roof terraces at first floor further reinforce links to the landscape. All the key rooms face the views.
With plenty of natural lighting throughout the house, Gregory has complemented this with concealed lighting coming from behind the walls. The luxurious range of fabrics and natural stone and marble, enrich the house with textural aspects such as animal-hide walls, basalt floors and sofas upholstered in the most opulent of silks.
These combined textures and the colour palettes of silk-lined walls, built-in bespoke cabinetry and solid oak floorboards imbue a sense of elegance and luxury whilst remaining sympathetic to the magnificent views of the valley through the carefully detailed full height glazing and sliding doors. Indeed, this project exemplifies how use of the finest natural materials in muted palettes can create refined and interesting spaces. The result is a holistic response which exceeded the clients’ expectations and provided them with a luxurious, contemporary family home full of clean lines, natural light and sumptuous furnishings and fabrics.
How did the project go?
On a large scale of issue the challenge was to create a large modern building that sat well in the landscape. We aimed to create an aesthetically quiet and elegant contemporary house.
The project has won awards including an RIBA award, The International Property Award for Best Interior Design, the International Design and Architecture Award for Best House in Europe, the Sunday Times Home Award for Architecture, The Sunday Times Home Award for Interior Design as well as awards for lighting design, bathroom design, audio/visual design and landscape design.
What was your favourite room or part of the project and why?
We aimed to create a contemporary house that is both luxurious and comfortable. We used materials such as timber, leather and stone in a contemporary way to create rooms of character. All my projects are a development of ideas. Creating the inside/outside space is a common theme. However, we also created new ideas in this project too.
There is a physical journey, you enter into the courtyard where the view of the landscape is hidden from view. The courtyard is surrounded by walls of flint which reference the material of the local church. You then enter via an opening onto dark stone slabs that sit within the reflecting pool, you almost walk on water to enter the house. Then you enter a double height entrance hall where the view of the landscape is revealed. So it is a physical, experiential journey.
The kitchen/dining/family room is wonderful! It has three elevations and is truly a room that is integrated in the landscape. The doors can be opened giving level access to the external terrace and access to the garden.
Were there any issues or problems you encountered during the project?
We require our buildings to be built to a very high standard. A number of elements of the construction were complex. Sourcing and constructing the flint walling required many samples to be produced to ensure the desired effect was achieved.
In order to ensure planning consent was achievable we organised an exhibition for the local village residence. This was very successful and led to widespread support for the project. It was a site that was recognised as being suitable for an outstanding modern building.