Living in Space add modern ideas of a luxury look to modern ideas of sustainability in rural Hertfordshire.
The aim of ‘Brickfields’, a six bedroom house in Radlett, Hertfordshire, was to show what can be done in terms of really effective, forward-thinking sustainability and zero carbon emission in a home, mixed with great design. The challenge was taken on by London design, build and architecture firm, Living in Space as their flagship high-end sustainable project. It is one that has been so in demand, it is now actually on the market.
“Our challenge at Brickfields has been to create a sustainable property that also offers everything our high end clientele demands,’ describes Anita Kohn, director of Living In Space. ‘We have carefully planned every element, from the building materials used to the floor plan, to ensure that it will meet the needs of residents now and well into the future”.
The wide open feel of the interior, with porcelain stone-look flooring tiles and glazed partitions and facades is reminiscent of much coveted Californian mid-century homes, which is an aesthetic that extends to the modular feel of the simple block shaped architecture, a treat to see in the middle of the Hertfordshire countryside!
The interior scheme feels modern, welcoming and relaxed with plenty of warm woods, seen in the teak furniture, including a vast Ritz dining table and 1960s Scandinavian style Gemma dining chairs by Bross, distributed by Europa Designs. And again in the property’s built-in joinery and large-width lacquered oak staircase and flooring in the entrance to the formal living room and open plan kitchen. The palette for the most part is muted greys and neutrals, such as in the upholstery of the sofas, custom made by Living In Space, as well the oversized format porcelain floor tiles, almost concrete in look.
Gaggenau, Siemens and Miele appliances have been specified in the Lauren Nicholas kitchen, which sits beneath decorative oak beams and includes an island unit that doubles up as a large storage space to keep the cooking and prep areas clutter free.
But the eco-friendly factor is integral and fundamental too with the presence of large windows throughout, also ensuring good levels of daylight within the home, limiting reliance on electricity. The family home meets the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 and the project uses 75% – 90% less energy, in comparison to conventional new build schemes. This means that CO2 emissions from the property’s heating, hot water, ventilation and lighting have been offset through the installation of sustainable measures, including photovoltaic solar panels and a ground source heat pump (GSHP). Brickfields generates 100% of it’s regulated energy on site through the installation of a ground source pump system. An underground rainwater harvesting tank has also been incorporated to collect rainwater from the property’s roof, which is then cleaned ready for use in the home.
The property’s unique round tower has been nicknamed ‘the Kiln’ and has been designed as the adult living quarters. The Kiln’s basement features a bar, a wine cellar and a cinema room, which has been sound enhanced by fabric-covered feature wall panels in deep smoky tones with LED lighting effects. The cinema experience is heightened by the use of a wall mounted 110 inch curved screen and projector system, with built in wall and ceiling speakers and discreetly concealed subwoofer and AV equipment.
The master bedroom is on the first floor of the kiln, with its own dressing room, taking on the theme of the simple, warm and relaxed styling with plush touches like a contemporary chandelier style Artemide pendant light, upholstered walls by Brian Yates and Casamance, and silk Jacaranda carpet.
The ensuite has a bespoke Corian basin, freestanding limestone bath and Hansgrohe brassware. Again, earthy, stripped back tones have been chosen and the Radlett countryside plays a large part in the scheme with the full height glazing, but elements of glamour make another appearance in freshwater pearl mosaics and a polished plaster finish.
The first floor of the rectangular element of the building has four bedrooms; each with an ensuite bathroom, individually designed with bespoke Italian glass basins, finished with lacquered gloss vanity units.
The first floor is also home to a terrace, complete with a hot tub and a glazed hallway that interlinks both sides of the terrace for all-weather access. To both promote and add to that sense of wellbeing there is a glass tiled swimming pool, steam room and gym.
Brickfields definitely does not scrimp on style and exudes a certain luxury not normally thought of as something that can be achieved with the seemingly restrictive nature of the Codes and Levels and Government legislation associated with sustainable building design. But most cleverly, it is not a complete contrast, it is not a battle between the standard high end aesthetics we have come to know in Chelsea penthouses sitting incongruously with methods of zero carbon and CO2 emissions – the two results do feel integrated and aligned, with Living in Space offering a new, more subtle and serene, idea of style and interior design that is in keeping with the ethos of eco-friendly but nonetheless high-end and inviting.