Designed by Ström Architects and completed in 2016, this contemporary style home offers a masterclass in simplicity. Headed by architects, Magnus Ström & Emma Ward-Lambert, Ström are responsible for a string of remarkably sensitive designs. This house is no exception.
Located in Swanage, UK with wonderful views of Durlston Country Park, by far the worst thing about the home is its name: “The Quest”. This isn’t difficult, since everything else about the place is an absolute delight.
To start with, it has a really simple, but rather special layout, with some really subtle features.
The first such feature which we noticed is that the floor is the horizontal mirror image of the roof, when looked at from the outside. The same band of white and grey runs the length of the façade, with both floor and roof connected by a long line of floor-to-ceiling windows, intermittently divided up by structural elements surrounded by wood panelling.
This single storey extends all the way over a lower driveway, cantilevered over the edge so as to provide cover for the car, while a discrete set of steps provides access between the two levels. It’s a simple touch but it really works nicely.
The whole plan for the contemporary house was specifically dictated by the demands of the site itself. Situated on a slope, with protected mature trees, the presence of a pre-existing retaining wall was used to mask the driveway and maintain a clear view to the valley.
Courtesy of Ross Allan Designs, the landscaping really helps bring out this aspect of the brief. All the plants at the front have been chosen so as not to interrupt the view of the house from the front. This also has the effect of enhancing the impact of the large trees poking up from the back of the house and those which surround the approach to the property, creating a true sense of privacy.
Meanwhile, the hardscaping is neat and simple, again, not messing with the natural qualities present in the landscape. This is best represented in the retaining wall mentioned previously. Comprised of local Perbeck stone, this simple yet beautiful wall has been expertly maintained to ensure it will last for years to come.
On that note, it’s nice to conclude with a statement made by the architects. Speaking of their intentions with the contemporary home design, they said that it “exemplifies our belief that simplicity and honesty of construction underlie good design”. In this statement, and in the design itself, they couldn’t be more spot on.