In a good light

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The big­gest change the cou­ple made was adding a spa­cious 68m² ve­randa. “As a na­ture-con­scious de­signer, I was wor­ried it would re­duce the su­perb north­ern light, which is crit­i­cal to any good space, but all it did was soften it,” says Michel. “The small clerestory win­dows in­tro­duce plenty of light, but the real change was in soft­en­ing the light en­ter­ing through the ex­tra-wide French doors. It’s an artist’s light.”

The Aes­thet­ics Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee had their work cut out for them in rec­ti­fy­ing the build­ing de­vi­a­tions: at one point the de­vel­oper ac­tu­ally re­moved the newly-com­pleted roof and knocked four brick cour­ses off to com­ply with Grey­ton’s her­itage ver­nac­u­lar.

“Now our home is a stylish, if some­what con­tro­ver­sial, ad­di­tion to this quaint vil­lage’s rich her­itage. Some peo­ple say the house has a ‘Provençal’ feel to it, but I dis­agree!” says Michel, who is work­ing on his mas­ter’s de­gree in the Con­ser­va­tion of the Built En­vi­ron­ment (CBE), a qual­i­fi­ca­tion re­quired of all pro­fes­sion­als who work on her­itage struc­tures. “In Provence, they also have lime-plas­tered walls and make use of nat­u­ral stone but our home with its clas­sic shut­ters looks more like an old farm­house or barn.

“I love the sim­plic­ity, the scale, the pro­por­tions and the sym­me­try. Modern ar­chi­tects have moved away from sym­me­try on the premise that it’s re­stric­tive and bor­ing, and we are poorer for it. There’s a balance and calm that comes from sym­me­try. That’s why this house works – it’s very sim­ple and looks as if it’s been here for years. But it’s only two years old!” >>

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