West Hartptree, North Somerset

A significant addition to a distinctive village

West Harptree is an attractive village half a mile south of Chew Valley Lake. The site, on the edge of the village, included an existing house, a bungalow, a collection of out-buildings, a group of TPO trees and a water course.

Our client, Whitecroft Developments, is renowned for high quality, bespoke developments and sensitive use of natural materials. We began with an analysis of the local context, looking beyond the site at the incremental development of the village and groupings of traditional buildings to inform our design approach.

West Harptree is a very distinctive place, with terraces fronting the main street and farm-like clusters behind. One of its most distinguishing features in the area is the local stone which is dark red in colour, occasionally mixed with white lias stone or brick as a decorative feature. Its consistent use within the village means that West Harptree has a unique sense of place.

Our site was at the edge of the village, where the clustering of buildings gives way to individual dwellings dispersed along a local lane. Terraces of cottages, old barns and farmyard courtyards glimpsed through garden walls were our precedents. These not only influenced the build form we proposed for the site but also provided clues in the detailing, such as overhanging eaves, cills and chimneys.

We produced a layout of linked and detached dwellings that fronted the street and then subtly twisted and turned around the site, to capture views and lead into private courtyards.

This narrative through the site was directly influenced by the build form and landscape character of the village.

A development of 19 new homes was a significant addition to West Harptree and we wanted to design a group of buildings that looked like they belong. At the same time, on the inside, these would be distinct contemporary Whitecroft homes.