The Lessan House by McGonigle McGrath won Grand Designs House of the Year.
How can you apply these design ideas to your home design?
Here’s my tips.
A while back, I caught an episode of Grand Designs (the UK version) sharing some of the contenders for ‘House of the Year’ in the main architectural awards there.
And there was one house that caught my eye … the Lessan House.
Designed by McGonigle Mcgrath, it’s set in a rural location, and uses a barn-like form in a really sophisticated way. It’s got some beautiful zinc roofing, and a really crisp form, that’s really simply laid out.
However, that’s not the main reason I was really taken with it.
What I found stunning were the strategies that the architect and homeowners had employed to manage their budget, and still achieve a really beautiful home.
Compared to some of the homes it was up against, it was low budget. And these are the things it did beautifully.
Light and volume are a big deal in this home
The raked ceilings, large areas of glazing and well-oriented layout mean that the home is filled with light in all locations. And the high volumes (with use of some mezzanines) creates a lovely effect in what is quite a compact footprint. In addition, skylights bring light in the tighter areas, or ensure that west-facing areas still get morning light.
Intimacy is created through colour changes
Some designs get it sooo wrong with volume, and create cavernous homes that lack intimacy. In this design, a horizontal line is run around the entire home, with grey below, and white above. As you travel through the home, you can see how unifying this is overall – and calming as a result. And how it helps reduce the scale of spaces without taking away from their grandeur. It’s such a clever device and so beautifully done.
Low cost materials get bang for buck
The architect talked about the choices they made with materials to keep the costs down – including a VERY low cost brick for the walls. By laying it with clean mortar joints and painting it, they managed to bring an elegance to a very low cost material. Could you do this with your project?
The homeowner created a home for them
The couple who live here have adult children, and wanted to create a place they could return to and happily stay. So, they made a decision that all bedrooms (including the main) are equally sized and laid out. And they only included one bathroom. The owner makes a great point about cleaning, and about everyday use of the home plus what they prioritised and valued.
Below are some pictures of the home, where you’ll see that horizontal line, the beautiful volumes, and the simplicity of the design.
This is the thing about design … it’s actually REALLY hard to keep things simple.
Because we naturally can’t restrain ourselves.
We want to trick things up, make them seem more decorative, or high end. Like it only matters if there’s A LOT and MORE.
It actually takes a huge amount of discipline to pare things back to an elegant simplicity that will be timeless as a design.
I’ve often found, when designing, I’ll start with simplicity, move through a WHOLE heap of complexity, to finally get back to simplicity again.
Push your way through complexity. Crave simplicity in your design. Because it ultimately brings calmness and sanctuary to your home.
We discussed enoughness on the Undercover Architect podcast. >>>>> Episode 243
Here’s 5 design tips for your ceilings. >>>>> Episode 253
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Join ‘Interior Design 101’ here (which includes the Kitchen Design Challenge) >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/courses/interior-design-101/
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