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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn

'Quiet Valley' house

At the beginning of the Covid lockdown we suddenly got very busy as people, sat at home, decided it was time to get on with that project they'd been waiting to find time to do. Three new build houses needed designing concurrently, two in South Wales, the other in Marlow. The first of these, a low energy contemporary house was handed over at the end of this summer.

Dyfryn Tawel is Welsh for Quiet Valley and that describes this home perfectly.

It looks over a gentle rolling valley, with barely a house visible from the windows.

We had a bit of a battle explaining to the planners why this shouldn't be yet another white rendered, slate pitched roof, cottage with dormer windows which was their first preference.

We ended up going to the Design Commission for Wales (DCfW) twice to persuade the planners that a modern design would fit into the hillside and was appropriate for the rural setting.

Taking inspiration from the shifting axis of the site and the local materials, we came up with the concept of a floating bronze upper floor over a stone base.

The house replaces both the existing single storey dormer house with gable windows within in the roof and outbuildings. The new house takes advantage of the solar gain and views to the south West. whilst maintaining privacy from the house adjacent and behind. Although in an elevated position, because the road is cut into the hillside below, the house is barely visible from the road. The flat roof is angled to take advantage of the sun with photovoltaic panels filling the roof and the remaining lower garage and carport roofs have a carpet of green sedum to soften the view from above.

The house has a compact perimeter shape and high levels of insulation and airtightness making it very thermally efficient. It is heated by air source heat pumps located at the rear with extensive gardens, currently being planted.


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