The Hetherington’s are carbon conscience and wanted a green solution to altering and adding to their poorly built wood frame cottage set within a glorious milk-wood thicket.

The trees were sacrosanct and the principle brief was to maximize interaction with the magnificent collection of canopies, from above and below. A range of options were investigated including demolition of the old cottage to improve positioning and plan shape coupled with a new green construction. But besides overshoot on the budget the demolition didn’t quite feel right to the client due to a conversation we had regarding green principles where the pivot was that “the greenest building is often the one already standing.”

Fortuitously the living room structure is pushed out into the milk-woods due to the old house positioning. The full height corner openings slide back to reveal the magic of the trees and the dappled light coming through the canopy is experienced throughout the ground floor.

The upper level pokey bedrooms and bathrooms were combined to form a single open studio-opening via a large dormer onto a deck over the new extension. By contrast to the ground floor the sunny deck has majestic views over the trees expansive green canopy to the beach and Chapman’s Peak beyond.

The new front door, an old Indian 6 panel, is set within a glass box that pushes out into the trees. The entrance path was reconfigured to wind through the trees to reveal their experience on approach to the house. The outside bedroom over the garage was upgraded to a flat with new roof windows that open it right into the mystique of the canopy.

The hot water system is solar thermal and the old and the new structures have new high levels of  insulation. The living room spaces are warmed with a central double sided fireplace and the old burner was reused in the study. North & West facing glass was specified with a thermal performance and the passive principles of shading and ventilation were applied. Classic wood post & lintel

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