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Fox House

A rare site in north London offering distant views southwards across open fields. Located in Totteridge Common, this 0.56Ha site has a long frontage onto the Common and is occupied by a detached house that was partially burnt down in 2012.

A Certificate of Lawfulness had been granted to rebuild the existing property to include a basement and an extension as well as a leisure complex complete with indoor swimming pool and gymnasium in the grounds of the house.

This planning history allowed for a ‘fall-back’ replacement house of some 450M2, but as it is within a Conservation Area and the Green Belt, the design had to be sensitive to the setting in size, scale and materiality.

The house is located across the footprint of the existing house at a point where the ground falls some 3 metres, allowing for a lower level to be built into the site – the resulting form is a single-storey building as seen from the road, while from the fields beyond it is 2-storeys so that the upper floor gains distant views across the fields.

An entrance track arrives at a walled courtyard, announcing arrival and lending a sense of place and security. The building is L-shaped, with garaging and guest accommodation in one wing, while entrance and studies to the other back onto the main body of the house, sitting beneath a mono-pitched roof with clerestorey windows.

Within, the entrance leads directly into the main open plan living space with a fireplace to one end and a large utility/ back kitchen and study to the other. The south façade is largely glazed onto the view and has a continuous balcony shaded by the roof overhang, while to the west end a large deck projects out.

A broad staircase drops down to the lower level where three bedrooms, all with en-suites and large master bedroom suite all face onto the south facing garden and views – a cinema room occupies a corner embedded into the ground.

Externally, an outdoor swimming pool follows the line of the projecting master bedroom volume, framing a square lawn area. To the east the garden is re-wilded and a new orchard is planted, while to the west an existing woodland area is to be improved and new trees planted.

The house is to be a slender steel framed structure, infilled with timber framing and insulation, all bearing on a concrete retaining structure. Built in an earthy linear brick, with dark grey/brown timber infill panels and screens set beneath a black zinc roof, it will sit quietly on its site.

The house is to be heated by an air source heat pump located in the garage structure, powered by integrated PV panels set upon the upper roof.

Status In planning
GIA m2 450 m2
Planning consultant HGH Consultanting
Landscape architect Rathbone Partnership
Ecology Windrush Ecology
Arboriculturalist Patrick Stileman
Highways consultant EAS
Project Team Tom Hayes
Photography © David Schnabel
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