Contemporary reimagining of a Georgian villa

This new-build in North Berwick has been designed to outlast its Georgian and Victorian neighbours

Naming your home Solid House could be tempting fate – especially when it is a deliberately low-tech new-build. Will it be able to withstand a buffeting  from the next storm cycle to blow in from the Atlantic?
Will it fall apart in the chilly dampness of a Scottish winter or two? But the owners of the new two-storey, five-bedroom house, which recently emerged from an empty garden site in North Berwick, are confident it will endure. “The whole idea was to build it once and build it well,” explains the man who designed it, Edinburgh-based architect Tim Beecher.
The owners were keen that the house should be a substantial construction. Their experience of new-builds was of timber kit houses – something that felt flimsy, with such poor acoustics they could hear people walking about upstairs. “With this house we started with the principle of heavyweight construction, with good levels of insulation. We also wanted big openings to the south to soak up as much free heat as possible,” says Beecher.
“It’s a responsibly designed low-tech house – but that’s low-tech in the most positive sense of the term, in that although a lot of energy has gone into making it, the house will still be standing in a few hundred years rather than lasting only the usual 50-year lifespan of the timber kit house. We’ve taken a long-term view.”
The materials are traditional but used in a modern way: a masonry structure of blockwork and cavity walls with reclaimed sandstone rubble and textured render facings, and a touch of timber cladding and zinc seamed roof finishes. “Zinc echoes traditional lead finishes, and the render looks like natural lime,” explains the architect.

This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 130-148, issue 106.

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Photography Chris Humphreys
Words Caroline Ednie
What A two-storey, five-bedroom house
Where North Berwick
Architect Tim Beecher