Fairbairn House by Inglis Architects
I love this house. The materiality really gets me. And the light. I’m such a sucker for a warm, sunny little space, I can’t help it, it just appeals so naturally to my inner sun lizard. This house, however, has more than mere sunlight. It has a lot. The planning is careful and yet generous, no-where attempting to squeeze in too much, yet never forgetting anything. Within its little footprint, the house offers a genuine sense of space, openness, and repose.
There’s something so relaxed, so Mediterranean about the entire composition that thoroughly compels me. The exterior is especially beautiful, its materiality so heavily tactile and inviting. The sun tends to dance across the facade, playfully casting shadow within the depths of the layered entry, cleverly denoting a welcome way forth.
Within the house, a petit central courtyard brings with it more light and shadow, texture and interest. This device works beautifully to engender the living areas, which effectively look onto two garden spaces, with an all pervasive feeling of calm. Not only that, this little courtyard provides wonderful glimpses of sky and greenery to several ancillary areas, including the study, powder room and laundry.
I am always impressed by houses which sit at one with their landscape, and this one is a special example. It is conceived with an almost European sensitivity to small moments, putting due emphasis on every opportunity, from large garden areas to the most minute areas of potential bliss. Its interiors are equally well considered, the kitchen and bathrooms being particularly effective at delivering the sort of understated rhetoric that comes so easily to Spanish or Greek coastal houses. Indeed, if I could spend my days here, sidled up against the whitewashed brick, dappled sunlight, aging timber, and smooth stone surfaces, I do think I could be quite content.All photography by Derek Swalwell