When asking Matt Wilkie of W2 what drove the design of this small house in the hills outside Oxford, he replies with one word. “Simplicity”.
“There was a limited budget, but the site had amazing views. It was just refining the plan and making it as simple as possible — and from that came a certain calmness.” The house is a box, one room deep, with an open-plan living area separated from bedrooms by an internal bathroom pod. As a result, the broad sweeping views down the valley are ever-present with each bedroom and the entire living area having a view.
Constructed by LM Built, the project utilises striking Colorsteel KowhaiGlow cladding, which wraps the back wall and roof. The use of Colorsteel offered a durable low maintenance cladding option that was attainable under the client’s budget. It was agreed the Colorsteel would be in Metalcraft's new standing seam profile, Espan 470, due to the strong defined shadow lines it creates with its high rib.
The choice of the KowhaiGlow colour was inspired by the kōwhai flowers that fell to the ground in the client’s previous home further down the valley. “It’s interesting,” says Wilkie, “when you drive up to the property and you see the colour, it’s like a kōwhai flower lying on the side of the hill.” It’s a bold move, striking in the green landscape, which gives the house a distinctive personality without additional cost. Deciding to wrap the roofing material over the back wall takes it to the next level. “We just decided to embrace it. To keep it simple just made perfect sense,” says Wilkie.
The Colorsteel KowhaiGlow is contrasted with the oiled cedar used for the front faces of the home. The thinking was to use cedar where you physically engage with the house, and steel on the roof and south face to provide protection from the weather.
The use of striking bright colours continues inside where the oiled plywood is contrasted with bursts of colour — orange on the kitchen cabinetry, and yellow down the hall to the bathrooms and bedrooms. It’s bright, but not overwhelming. To accommodate extended family, the clients are now building a second stage which will use the same language of cedar and standing-seam Colorsteel — in KowhaiGlow of course.
Builder: LM Built
Architect: Matt Wilkie, W2 Architects
Roof & Wall Cladding: Colorsteel