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Design Stories: The Cotswolds Retreat

We recently completed a stunning residential project to transform a traditional Cotswold house into a modern family retreat using a contemporary design to connect the house to its  picturesque landscape.

View of the rear of a traditional cotswold stone house with a contemporary extension and lake at dusk

The clients were drawn by the charm of the Cotswold setting and approached us with a vision to reimagine their home as a tranquil escape from their bustling London lives. With an open brief, we set out to enhance the main house and establish a stronger connection between the interiors and the surrounding environment. The project scope also included a leisure and wellness area, featuring a gym, swimming pool, and entertainment space.

Swimming pool and party barn with contemporary interior design

Contemporary outdoor swimming pool with infinity deck looking out to Cotswolds landscape

The original layout of the house, organised around an “H” shape plan, presented flow challenges and compromised the overall layout. Our approach was to reconfigure and extend the house to optimise its relationship with the landscape while preserving its existing character.

Diagram showing extension and glazing changes to the house to connect it with the landscape

View of the rear of a traditional cotswold stone house with contemporary glazed extension with zinc fascia and balcony

A striking two-story glazed extension was added to the rear, bridging the wings of the “H” and creating a harmonious flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. This extension introduced a living room on the ground floor and a master bedroom suite above, complete with a balcony overlooking the garden. The extension not only improved the flow within the house but also allowed for the relocation of the staircase to the front, creating a dramatic double-height entrance. There were also further sustainable benefits to this approach as the extension reduced the amount of external walls increasing the thermal performance of the house.

View from the contemporary master bedroom looking out through a glazed balustrade towards the landscaped gardens and swimming pool

View of the Hague blue living room with white corner sofa by Poliform and contemporary minimal sliding doors with views and access to the garden

The interior spaces were reconfigured to accommodate five bedrooms and an open-plan ground floor that offers views of the garden from every room. A corner window in the dining room provides panoramic views of the lake and gallops, further enhancing the connection to the natural surroundings.

The outbuilding was thoughtfully refurbished, serving as an entertainment space with a feature fireplace, bar area, and games room. The iconic “on the rocks” sofa by edra, was chosen to add drama to the party barn.  Bi-fold doors seamlessly connect the interior with the outdoor pool terrace, inviting residents to enjoy the serene outdoor environment.

View of contemporary designed party barn with designer furniture and outdoor swimming pool

The success of the project was recognised by its shortlisting in two prestigious awards. The project was a finalist in both the Luxury Residence – UK Award in The International Design and Architecture Awards 2023 and the best Residential House Over £1M in the Society of British Interior Designers Awards (SBID)

The judges for the International Design & Architecture Awards commented:

“Design Storey Architects successfully realised the client’s vision of a contemporary yet harmonious home that invites relaxation and respite. The completed project showcases the firm’s expertise in blending innovative design concepts with the inherent beauty of the Cotswold landscape, resulting in a truly remarkable residential oasis”

We were humbled that the project was a finalist in both of these well-regarded awards and the shortlisting celebrates the hard work of everyone in the design and construction team.

Visit the Cotswold Retreat Project Page to see more photographs of this project.


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