London Road Harston

By the time our client approached us, most people around them had already gained planning permission and built substantial properties in their back gardens. Our primary challenge was therefore not to establish the principle of development, but to appropriately design a substantial family house with integral garage on a site which is narrower than most of the other surrounding plots, paying due regard to neighbour amenity.


Our client’s main aim was to create a substantial 5 bedroom home with a triple garage that was joined to the main house, and a dramatic entrance hall. Being a north facing garden, capturing natural light in all of the main living spaces was also of great importance. Among the other requirements were a home gym, office and cinema room.

Key Challenges and Successes

  •  Accommodated a large house with adjoining triple garage within a narrow site.
  •  Energy rating B achieved with air tightness of 3.0m3/m2.
  • Despite narrow site, high-level glazing under floating flat roof captures natural light throughout the day.

Procurement Route

Negotiated contract.

Service Provided

Concept Designs, securing planning permission, discharge of planning conditions, obtaining building regulations, production of working drawing package, through to monitoring build quality, providing architectural certificates through to completion on site.

Design Process

Our early design concepts centred around defining the entrance to the dwelling and creating a double height space to create the dramatic effect our client wanted to achieve. Due to the narrowness of the plot it seemed important to create a low eaves line along the east and west boundaries to prevent overbearing and overshadowing.

It was important to keep the overall height of the building in line with its neighbours. We therefore adopted a flat roof on the middle section of the building. A ribbon of frameless glazing below makes the roof appear to float at night when the internal lights are on.

Gary Johns Architects were involved throughout the project from start to completion. Working alongside the main contractor, Ley Construction, a high level of finish was achieved.

The building achieved an air tightness of 3.0m3/m2, and a whole house ventilation system with heat recovery was adopted. The energy rating of the building is B.

We were introduced to Gary by an old architect friend who had designed our last house. We had a plot on which we want to build a 5 bedroom house of substantial proportion. We gave Gary an outline specification but with a blank canvas so far as the design. What Gary first produced was fantastic, innovative, very contemporary but not quite large enough. After a few iterations and it is fair to say challenges, we arrived at a design which suited our requirements perfectly and is where we are very happily living today. What made this achievable was the professional way Gary's team took time to understand our requirements and their attention to detail and drawings are second to none. We were made to feel part of the design process from day one. It became apparent early on that the team has a vast mix of skills providing strong support to both us and Gary though out the process. That we could "virtually"walk through the house at every stage was incredible and the drawings and technical expertise of the team made the job of our builder (like Gary and his team a perfectionist) so much easier. That our builder has retained Gary on a number of projects subsequently speaks volumes. Communication is of course vital in any project and we couldn't fault the whole team throughout the design and eventual build. That the design was sympathetic to neighbours, environment and met all the expectations of the planners made the approval process straightforward. We would have no hesitation using Gary Johns Architects in the future nor recommending them.

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