Estuary House

Residential Conversion, Essex


The barns are located on a spectacular site on the Stour Estuary in Essex, within the grounds of a Grade II listed property. Cowper Griffith were appointed in 2008 to convert the property’s outbuildings and barns into a new dwelling. 

The design sought to strike a complex balance of solid and void within the vast volume of the main barn.  The approach taken was to use objects and furniture such, as the Cinema Pod, to demarcate three-dimensional space.  Objects and accommodation were located in such a way as to maintain glimpses of the whole volume.

Material selection was governed by a desire for the building to age gracefully, which was achieved by using natural finishes on products.  The Cedar cladding is untreated, the milled finish to the aluminium rainwater goods allows oxidization to occur and untreated zinc roofing allows weathering.

An excellent working relationship between the site foreman, the project architect, and the Client helped to deliver an extremely high quality finished product. 

The project was bespoke throughout, tailored to the Client’s interests and his son’s skills as a master cabinetmaker. The Cinema Pod was made by the Client and his son using traditional boat building techniques to form the shell. 

Other points of note include the mechanisms for the external clock, built in to the entrance hall wall, and the viewing window into the plant room showing the inner workings of the house in all their glory.

The project was shortlisted for an RIBA award in 2012. 

Architect: Cowper Griffith

Main Contractor: Rose Builders