Explore this stunning coastal eco-home created near Padstow

PUBLISHED: 11:25 16 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:49 16 October 2020

The external aesthetic is reflected in the unfussy interior

The external aesthetic is reflected in the unfussy interior


Waterhouse on Rock manages to be both luxurious and eco-friendly

Walls of windows allow the light to flood inWalls of windows allow the light to flood in

Finding the right architect for your dream coastal home can be a challenge, but for Waterhouse, ARCO2 director Ian Armstrong couldn’t have been more enthusiastic.

“We create beautiful sustainable homes to improve your health, wellbeing and lifestyle,” he says.

“We are also very conscious that buildings should complement our precious landscape and work in symbiosis. This building enhances the visual, ecological and environmental impact compared to the building which it replaced.”

Their approach to sustainable building is apparent in their recent creation of Waterhouse – designed by ARCO2 and built by their in-house construction company ADD Sustainable Construction Ltd. This remarkable property is constructed of a responsibly sourced timber frame, super-insulated with recycled newspaper and features a wildflower green roof. All the hot water and minimal heating required is via a ground source heat pump, made in Cornwall by Kensa, which has 1200m of slinky pipes buried in the field below. The ventilation and humidity is controlled by a sophisticated mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system which ensures there is no warm air wasted in extraction. Together with very air tight construction and triple glazing the building is one of the most energy efficient buildings in the south west.

Ground floor bedrooms are simple and flooded with lightGround floor bedrooms are simple and flooded with light

Ian continues: “As an RIBA Chartered Architects Practice we have a unique, innovative and environmental approach to design which is very evident in this house. We were approached by our client to design a replacement dwelling located near Rock/Wadebridge with uninterrupted Camel estuary views. The brief was to provide a site-specific and bespoke design which is sympathetic to the rural setting within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty without compromising on energy efficiency and contemporary design flair.

“This was achieved by using natural materials, such as locally sourced vertical timber cladding which has been stained black so that the building blends into the surrounding vegetation and rural setting.”

Internally the primary open plan living space has generous ceiling heights, maximising not only views of the river Camel, but also the rolling hills and skyline. Internal materials were honest and unfussy, with the occasional feature wall which hints to the external aesthetic and creation of inside/outside spaces.

Waterhouse sits in an Area of Outstanding Natural BeautyWaterhouse sits in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Connecting the inside to the outside and vice-versa is an important design consideration, especially when designing a building in such a beautiful setting.

Ian concludes: “It’s one of the most sustainable dwellings in terms of building fabric and energy usage in the area, and demonstrates that a strong design concept can be really striking, whilst at the same time being sympathetic to visual impact.”


This feature first appeared in Cornwall Life magazine. See our latest subscription offers here.

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