In late 2017, we received planning permission for Cove Cottage, a private family home in Woolacombe, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north Devon.


Our designs are for the demolition of an existing, outdated three-bedroom detached bungalow with self-contained two-bedroom annex. We will replace both spaces with one modern 310 sqm new build, comprising four bedrooms, four bathrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen, lounge, utility room and study, plus an ancillary garden store.


The house is a contemporary interpretation of the area’s white washed walls and slate roof vernacular. Its form hugs the existing hillside to minimise the exposed mass of the house. Inside, floor-to-ceiling windows are carefully placed to reveal stunning views back to the rock formations of the abandoned quarry which was previously located on site.


Our crafted design creates a home with two distinct elements. The ground level has traditional white-render walls with various textured render finishes to enfold users in the palette of this coastal location. Upon this conceptual “white ruin” sits the roof, a solid carved object clad externally in slate and internally in light-sucking rough cast render, within which the family can enjoy zenith light and long views of the horizon.


Cove Cottage offers us the perfect opportunity to explore our passion for complex thresholds and light. The exposure of the location and the views to and from the site in such a prominent position encouraged us to explore the depth and layering of walls, roofs and reveals creating an entirely site-specific response.


This project meets with our wider architectural aspirations to connect the inhabitants of architecture more viscerally with their environment and our interrogation of respectful architecture in areas with sensitive vernacular.

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Project credits


  • Project director: Steve Jones
  • Architect: Catherine Blaney
  • Architectural assistant: Jamie Whelan

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