Coffey completes three-volume timber-clad home on Dorset coast

Set on a sloped 0.7ha plot, the clustered volumes that make up the 1,830m2 house are clad in larch timber and sit on a plinth made from local Blue Lias stone.


The house looks out across Charmouth Beach and bay towards Lyme Regis. It is designed to appear like a group of single-storey buildings hugging the contours of the hillside, thus lessening its visual impact. Replacing an existing, dilapidated three-bed house, the new home includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms, study and living/kitchen/dining area. The spaces are linked together in a linear formation, connected via a central stepped north/south axial corridor.


The use of timber defines the house’s design. Outside, the naturally greyed cladding wraps over the roof, concealing gutters and forming a sharp and seamless profile. Larch batons create a crisp and linear façade.  Inside, the overlapping of the timber cladding with the glazed walls animates the thresholds with shifting shadows. Oak panelling within creates a warmth to the interiors and acts as a background to the owners’ print collection.


The house was designed using passive design principles, incorporating south-facing glazing to maximise solar gain, a degree of solar shading in summer and an arrangement of windows facilitating good cross ventilation.

Outside, terraces extend to the east and south of the house. One faces the sea while another lies outside the kitchen, providing a walled-in area for a barbecue. Beyond these, the garden design was inspired by Harris Bugg Studio’s masterplan. The owners have also built a yurt so they can sleep under the stars.


Architect’s view

At Modern Barn there is a seamless integration of the external pattern and interior shadows which offers a compelling experience, imbues the building with a unique identity, and fosters a genuine sense of belonging to its surroundings. With a focus on sea, sunlight and warmth of materiality, this is rich internal landscape in which to live.
Phil Coffey, director, Coffey Architects 


Client’s view

This is our house. It reflects us and our personalities. It’s warm and soft and sunny. The light and the way it runs through is incredible. This home is like a slickly wrapped parcel and everywhere you look out you see green and blue. It’s absolutely wonderful!
Private owner


Source:Coffey Architects

Project data

Start on site Feb 2018 (substructure) / Feb 2020 (main contract)
Completion date May 2018 (substructure) / Feb 2021 (main contract)
Gross internal floor area 170m2
Form of contract Design and build
Construction cost £797,800
Construction cost per m2 £4,693
Architect Coffey Architects
Clients Allan Gore and Alison Taylor
Structural engineer AKS Ward
M&E consultant Evergreen Renewable Energy
Landscape consultant Bugg Harris Studio
Project manager Guy Bamford
Principal designer Chris Cahill Ltd
Main contractor Hammond & Sons Ltd (substructure) / Gibbs Gordon (main contract)
CAD software used AutoCAD / SketchUp

Environmental performance data

Percentage of floor area with daylight factor >2%  Not supplied
Percentage of floor area with daylight factor >5%  Not supplied
Annual mains water consumption Not supplied
Airtightness at 50pa 4.7 m3/h.m2
Heating and hot water load (primary energy use) 68.7 kwh/m2/yr
Overall area-weighted u-value Not supplied
Design life 60 years
Embodied / whole-life carbon Not supplied
Annual CO2 emissions Not supplied