The Hazels is on Old Road, to the east of Oxford city centre, close to Shotover Country Park and within the Oxford Green Belt. Our clients have commissioned us to design a new contemporary house within the grounds of their existing home. This type of development is particularly rare in the Oxford area.
We are really pleased that planning approval was granted at committee stage after we demonstrated our ability to address Oxford City Council’s planning department’s concerns.
Access to the site would have to be via a shared driveway. The site slopes steeply to the southwest and a number of disused quarries close by means there are unknown ground condition in places.
Clever massing was required to fit the size of house the client required into the site, given these limitations. Our solution was to partially sink the house into the sloping site and create a simple, highly efficient ground floor footprint. The shared access has been expanded to accommodate additional traffic.
At the front of the ground floor is a fully glazed and double-height hallway, with a cloakroom, snug, study and utility room of the left. At the back, a large L-shaped open plan space has kitchen, dining and family areas that all open out on to the garden through sliding glass doors, and a drawing room at the front of the house and to the right of the hallway.
Unusually, the first floor is slightly larger than the ground floor, with four cantilevered overhangs – one at each corner. The result is four generous bedrooms, three bathrooms and a dressing room to the master suite.
Overall, the house has about 200 square metres of internal space.
There is a natural flow from front to back and a very clear connection between this new house and its setting and context. The ground floor sliding doors and large first floor picture windows let in huge amounts of natural light and provide striking views of the mature gardens from almost every angle.