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Extension for 17th Century Farmhouse

Mole Architects created the traditional cum contemporary Hawthbush farmhouse, but there’s nothing sleepy about this sweet countryside property. The UK-based architecture firm took a cue from the barrel-roofed agricultural buildings dotting this area, and extended the existing 17th century protected farmhouse into a slightly skewed L-shaped living space here in southeast England. The “L” creates a more intimate layout, with windows and glass doors of the two structures that face toward each other without compromising privacy. Surrounded by endless grassy meadows, this pastoral scene is the perfect setting for this rustic brick house with its rural nuances and contemporary touches. Here’s a tour of the Hawthbush home extension.


The homeowners were in need of additional living space, but they didn’t want to go to the extremes of ultra modern or stuffy tradition. This addition offers the perfect compromise, boasting a light, airy look and a smaller scale that leaves the main focus on the original farmhouse. Placed at an angle to the existing home, the addition is connected by a contemporary glazed elbow leading into the new wing. The L shape was chosen to reference the shape of historical farmsteads.

The steel roof gives this extension an anti-residential aesthetic, more in line with an agricultural building than the decidedly homey farmhouse from which it branches, adding interest while staying in line with the prevailing style and setting of High Weald in the Sussex Downs.

This addition blends with the architecture of these pastoral surroundings, but it certainly sets this house apart from the rest by treating a traditional workspace as a residential living area. Like the main house, the addition boasts a blend of natural materials – reclaimed brick, wood and steel.
The face of the addition features a massive arching window which hints that there is more to this unusual extension than meets the eye. This latest and lasting extension takes the place of multiple earlier additions, and we think this one is a keeper.
Floor-to-ceiling glass doors open the new kitchen and dining area onto the garden just outside, and the farmland rolling out to the horizon. And what better way to savor the fruits of your labor than to regard their origins – literally.
From the outside you can’t help but wonder how this semi-circular roof impacts interiors. And much like you’d anticipate, an arching ceiling creates an amazing open feel, but contrary to all expectations, beneath the cool steel roof is warm and cozy living space in keeping with the farmhouse atmosphere. The blond wood gives interiors a bright, airy aesthetic, which is enhanced by the massive window wall. Lack of traditional walls gives this space a modern loft feel. Artwork is lined up along the floor and leaning up against this curving wall – unusual placement which works well within this strangely sweet space.
This open concept living area enjoys stunning views framed by the front window – the perfect nook for a private sitting area to kick back, relax, and ponder life. The grassy meadow on the other side of the glass gives this home a fresh appeal that evokes eternal springtime in our mind’s eye.

This hotspot gets plenty of warm sunlight, which floods the whole space, illuminating every corner.

According to the architects, “When asked to produce a list of rooms Lisa (one of the clients) instead presented Mole with a pot she had made, saying, ‘I don’t know what I mean by it, but there’s something about this pot that conveys what I feel about the extension.'”
Following are some technical drawings that outline the site and house design:

The site plan, from above

The ground floor plan

First floor plan

Long cross-section

Short cross-section

Southern elevation

Northern elevation
via Archiportale
Photo credit: David Butler via Dezeen


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