Harman's Orchard

  • client
  • Private Client
  • contract value
  • £2,000,000
  • date
  • 2015
  • sector
  • Private Residential
  • location
  • East Sussex
  • contact
  • Neil Davies

Harmans Orchard, in the hamlet of Crockham Hill, lies within the North Kent Downs in area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) outside the grounds of Chartwell. The plot has a splendid open aspect to the south providing the ideal location for a thermally efficient house that has been designed in association with Trunk Low Energy Building to achieve passive house standards.

The new house, designed over three levels, replaces the former Harmans Orchard, at property part of which dated back to the 1700s. Despite its heritage, the principally 19th century dwelling was in need of substantial repair and modernisation. After the preparation of several designs to extend the property it was considered that the most appropriate option would be to replace the dwelling with a larger property that could embrace the plot and adopt modern efforts of construction to achieve a low energy home in character with its rural setting.

The property is constructed using an air-tight hybrid timber I-beam construction above an ICF basement (infilled polystyrene block). The air-tight timber frame is infilled with recycled newspaper and fully encapsulated to provide a breathable yet 'air-tight' shell. With the addition of high specification sustainably sourced timber windows (tradition balanced with thermal performance) and solar thermal panels, the house achieves a low-energy standard equivalent to passivhaus that exceed CfSH code 5.

The appearance belies its modern efficiency. The timber frame is clad in coursed sandstone sourced from East Sussex (Lambs Quarry), capped with rouge clay tiles, with oak and glass balconies across the south elevation. External landscaping - designed and completed by Kent Gardens - restores this family house to its grounds. Even the bats (in their especially designed retreats within the eaves) are back.