The White House


Nicknamed by locals and Estate Agents as ‘The Ugly House’, owners Steve and Belinda had a vision to convert their newly purchased house and completely refurbish it. The result, now awarded by Build Magazine’s 2015 Architecture Awards as ‘Best Residential Transformation 2015’, is a bright and airy delightful family home.

With a dysfunctional layout, oddly placed staircases and 2 front doors, there was much wrong with the house but sitting in prime position on a ¾ of an acre plot near the beautiful Kent town of Sevenoaks, there was the potential for much to be right!

As a building contractor, Steve became project manager but following recommendation, looked to Turner & Hoskins to help them create and achieve a new design. Belinda says of Tim, ‘He listened to us and then worked really hard to come up with suggestions to make the house work’.

Featured in Kent Life, Tim’s winning design solutions are clearly identified:

“The new house has used exactly the same footprint as the old one and Tim’s design improvements are obvious from the moment you enter. Removing a bedroom allowed room for a stunning, double-height hallway flooded with light.

Your eyes are either drawn upwards by the sweep of the stairs towards a galleried landing and hand-made antler chandelier or through to the back of the house, past the family lounge, where folding doors provide an uninterrupted garden view. Follow the room around to the left and you are faced with a dining area and a very large kitchen. The kitchen units were one of the couple’s biggest indulgences, but having a decent kitchen was a priority. The main bedroom is another place where Tim’s efforts to deliver some ‘wow’ factor and a touch of luxury are evident. An ingenious use of partitions allows their brightly coloured bed to take centre stage under the vaulted ceiling, while to the left of the boarded backdrop a luxurious en-suite bathroom is hidden from view. Walk around to the other side and you are greeted by a bank of mirrored wardrobes in a separate dressing area. Tim has included hidden storage wherever possible and unused space in the eaves has been cleverly accessed throughout the house.”

Despite the overall mass of the house being significantly reduced, the solution was about floor area and allowing the flow of natural light. A clever ‘bridge’ at first floor stretches over the main entrance and links a new master suite to the original house. The master bedroom has an open roof structure resulting in a light and airy space, emphasised further by new dormer windows to the front of the house and Juliet balconies to the rear looking out over the garden.

The alterations at ground floor level have resulted in a central lounge space surrounded by hall, kitchen, dining area, utility, larder, toilet, formal lounge and study. New rendered elevations at ground floor, timber cladding at first floor, new slate roofs, new windows and exposed rafter all result in the New England style that was sought. A house with 5 bedrooms became another house with 5 bedrooms but a house transformed from ugly to beautiful and much more functional.

“We are the proud owners of The White House! With the help of Turner & Hoskins Architects we have taken what was most definitely the ugly duckling of the street to perhaps the prettiest! On first meeting, we were very reassured to meet an architect who was able to visualise immediately what we were hoping to achieve. They listened to our needs and worked hard to make everything work to suit our family needs. We have so many compliments about our beautiful home we are very pleased to have Turner & Hoskins Architects as part of our team.”

Steve and Belinda