Wood Species and Products Used: European oak, French oak, Siberian larch, American black walnut.
Building client/owner: Private
Architect: Knox Bhavan Architects
Structural Engineer: Tweddell + Slater Ltd
Main Contractor/Builder: Cox + Allen
Joinery Company: Kentside Joinery
Other services: The Joinery Shop, Ian Dunn
Rigg Beck is set within an acre of the tightly controlled Lake District National Park. It replaces the dilapidated ˜Purple House”, where amongst others Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes used to stay. The Carter family have long standing connections with the Lake District, and wanted a second home which would eventually become their first.
The simple, strong, and regular form of the house and its roof responds and reflects the profile of a neighbouring fell. The house has been designed as a one room wide building running perpendicular to the contours of the site. The top floor contains the main living spaces, the middle (lower ground) floor houses five bedrooms, and a Games/Cinema room occupies the basement.
The materials have been carefully chosen to be both appropriate and to reflect the surrounding area. The principle materials are recycled and sourced locally. They needed to be robust, and durable for this exposed site. The house has traditional cavity wall construction with a dry slate wall cladding to the lower floors and Westmorland slate hanging to the top floor. A clerestorey window detaches the slate hanging from the slate pitched roof. Dressed Lazonby stone frames the European Oak windows.
The house has seventy eight European Oak windows (not including the clerestorey) to give views of the surrounding fell landscape. A large south facing picture window gives a framed view up the valley to the fells beyond. A series of slot windows give glimpses of the Beck and its woodland setting.
The undulated form of the north wall responds to the shape of Rigg Beck cutting through the site. The angled bays to each bedroom, give views up and down the stream. The shaped bedroom wall is clad in Larch tongue & groove cladding, and has a planted fern roof to acknowledge the woodland setting it faces onto. The front porch is also clad in Larch tongue & groove cladding.
The eaves of the pitched slate roof, are supported on exposed European Oak roof rafters.
A natural palette of engineered European Oak tongue and grooved floorboards and slate flooring unites the house from top to bottom and provides a complementary background to the bespoke joinery.
The staircase to the lower level has solid European Oak treads supported off a steel chassis.
The central free standing pantry is clad in solid European Oak tongue and groove boards.
The house interior has a number of bespoke Joinery pieces :
- A kitchen manufactured out of moisture resistant MDF.
- A circular Study is fitted out with curved shelving and cupboards, manufactured out of sprayed MDF and European Oak.
The Master bedroom has a bespoke joinery cupboard, specially commissioned for the room. One side acts as a clothes cupboards, and the other side forms a headboard and tables for the bed . The unit is manufactured out of American Black Walnut. The veneering is slip matched. The curved ends have a series of tapered pockets to accommodate paperback books. Each blocking piece is faced with a Walnut ˜oyster”.