The Wynnstay House was first conceived when the site was co-purchased between two couples with children. This led to the design of 2 landmark townhouses which could accommodate two growing families with a shared vision and individual aesthetic.
Common features for both parties were the inclusion of courtyards and to be surrounded by gardens. An important difference in the planning of each house occurred when one client expressed a desire for a home-office to the front, while we preferred a studio to the rear. It was also important that the design could be adaptable, growing and shrinking depending on whether our children were living at home or not.
We interpreted this unique brief through a pair of townhouses that were part of a singular whole but that were not identical in form or plan. The townhouses would act as an expression of our unique styles while ensuring a haven for our growing families. The facade addresses this through a three-level raked façade with a routed Islamic style pattern adorning the French Zinc. The result is a unified façade that is a monumental addition to the street. It embodies the idea of a wall or fortress, like that of an ancient city which has been eroded or carved away at openings, with strategically placed windows allowing glimpses of the wide tree-lined street. Internally, the planning of the two townhouses is like two parts of a complex puzzle that lock together, thereby accommodating the individual and unique needs of each family.
The architecture is imbued with the personality of its occupants; manifest from the building’s massing down to the detail of interior elements. Like the unusual facade, the interior is anything but conventional. A wide passage, leading to an open-plan kitchen and living areas, features a breathtaking ceiling. Made from hundreds of MDF blocks of varying lengths, the ceiling is evocative of the ripple effects made by a pebble thrown into a pool of water. The ceiling is animated at night from the reflections of the pool and from concealed lighting, creating a variety of moods depending on the light and time of day. The kitchen bench, made from Corian for its malleable and robust nature, follows the water theme of the interior through its allusion to an iceberg.
The floor to ceiling balustrade leading to the basement car parking is a wall of French stainless steel wire (not dissimilar to a cricket net). Bespoke joinery, such as a lime green alcove in the passage creates a gallery effect, with objects including house models thoughtfully displayed. The same level of craftsmanship went into creating the lacquered red bookshelves in the library. The importance of using natural materials, colour and form for the designer-client show in the use of vibrant and colourful interiors. This extends to the exterior with the gardens designed by Pauline Enright Amon, which also feature an abundance of flowers and vines of purple which frame the Terrazo steps with generous landings. Aquamarine pearlescent mosaic tiles also extend from the wall of the swimming pool into the kitchen’s splashback, drawing the private back-garden into the open-plan kitchen.
The Wynnstay house has been built over a number of years to ensure that every detail is precise and in context with the rest of the home. Bespoke of a conceptual-style architecture, the spaces are contemporary and unconventional due to an experimental approach by the designers to their own home. This shows an unparalleled commitment to detail and ideas at a multitude of scales, creating a complexity that transcends aesthetics to propose new experiential qualities in the living space.