Brown & Brown bags approval for hillside house in Lake District

The proposed Wren’s Nest house in Grasmere, Ambleside, will replace an existing home that sits within a garden designed by prominent landscape architect and town planner Thomas Hayton Mawson (1861-1933).

The site had originally featured a terrace with two stone summerhouses at each end, though these have since been demolished.

Brown & Brown said the client’s brief called for a contemporary house that retained the garden and had a ‘simple and understated architectural style’.

Approved by the Lake District National Park local planning authority, the consented scheme will be built from a ‘simple materials palette’ which includes Lake District stone and a first floor of unpainted vertical open rainscreen timber cladding sitting under a sedum roof.

Stone from the current house will be reused in the new development ‘in particular in works to the existing retaining wall’.

A future timescale is not yet known.

Source:Touch 3D

Existing house left; proposed right

Architect’s view

The form of the new house is designed to sit within the existing landscape, with the load being transmitted down along a thickening of the retaining wall in the area of the house, and sculptural columns at the outer edge, minimising the need for work in the area of trees wherever possible, and resulting in no tree loss on the site.

‍The proposed house is of a contemporary design and adopts a largely linear form, sitting above, and influenced by, the topography of the site, in order to mirror the horizontality of the existing retaining wall, and retain the garden itself as the visually dominant element of the site.


‍The massing creates a clear visual heirarchy on the site, emphasising the visually ‘heavy’ nature of the lower floor clad in local stone, with the ‘lighter’ overhanging timber-clad first floor sitting above, conceived as a ‘floating’ element sitting against the backdrop of the existing forest.

‍The relationship of the building to both the garden and the wider landscape has been a prime driver of the design, which due to the existing landform and the woodland screening, would be barely perceptible from the public realm.