Houses by Hudson Architects

This Stunning Island Home Embraces The Sea

Julia Thomson Julia Thomson

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The island of Jersey, situated between France and England, has a long history. Archaeological excavations have unearthed evidence of settlement dating back to the Bronze and early Iron Age.

However, on the island's rugged shoreline stands a house that is decidedly contemporary. Designed by Hudson Architects, this modern home is characterized by clean lines, boxy structure and unfussy design.

Despite its recent construction, the house is strongly linked to its setting, capitalizing on the sea views, referencing historic architecture and using local materials. The result is a modern home that embodies style and comfort.

Architecture that soars

From the outside, the house seems to be constructed as a series of boxes stacked together. By setting some boxes forward and recessing others, the architects have created a series of nooks and niches. The result is an inviting facade that encourages people to ascend the various staircases or gather on the balconies.

Rather than just using basic rectangles, the architects played with the angles. They added dramatic sloping roofs at either end of the home to inject movement and visual interest.

Embracing the seaside setting

Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands. However, it is still less than 120 square kilometres, so everywhere on the island is close to the ocean.

For this home, the sea is a defining feature.

The house overlooks Saint Ouen’s Bay and offers a panoramic view of the water. The allure of the seaside clifftop setting is obvious and the architects have made sure to capitalize on the vista. The upper level--including a cantilevered room--provides an ideal vantage point to admire the beautiful seascape.

Variety of exterior materials

The white plaster finish on the house is a bright contrast against the blue of the ocean and the sky. However, the architects also employed wood cladding and rustic stone to great effect. The wood and stone add texture and colour to the facade, increasing the home's overall visual appeal.

Another element that adds interest to the exterior is a semi-circle bump out. With its stone walls and long narrow windows reminiscent of medieval castles, this addition references the Martello Towers--the small defensive forts--that dot the island's coastline.

The stone echoes the rocks of the cliffs--in fact, most of the granite was sourced locally. Together, all of the exterior materials echo the colours and texture of Jersey and serve to tie the house to its natural setting.

Open concept living

Inside, the overlapping boxes that we saw on the outside influence the interior spaces as well. In the main living area, the ceiling follows the pitch of the roofline, gently rising from one side of the room to the other. The architects smartly located the living room in the lower section, making this area feel more cozy and intimate than it would otherwise.

The furnishings and accessories also contribute to the comfortable feel of the space. Warm wood, generous couches and large patterned rug are traditional references that warm up the modern design.

A separate, yet open kitchen

The boxy structure gave the architects the opportunity to play with levels within the house. The kitchen and dining area are set lower than the main living area, separated by just a few steps. A halfwall adds further separation, while maintaining an open feel throughout the main floor. 

Overall, the architecture is clean and simple. Walls are white and are not adorned by trim. The stair railing is made of glass panels trimmed with simple wood strips. Wood beams on the ceiling subtly divide the various rooms within the large open space.

Throwing a curve

The architects were conscious of creating a cohesive design story both outside and inside of the house. While overall the interior is simple and clean, the beautiful stone that was used on the exterior makes an appearance inside as well, most notably in the semi-circle entry hall.

Flooded by natural light, this nook draws people in to take a seat on one of the built-in benches. The curved wall contrasts with the straight lines throughout the rest of the home. The stone is a perfect choice for this transitional space where people enter and exit this beautiful home.

Warm stone walls

Attention to detail is obvious in the sight lines throughout the home. This view of the small study area in the main living space is framed by another rock wall. An strip inset in the wood floor completes the frame and further delineates the spaces.

Despite being a hard natural material, the rocks the designers selected soften this modern space. Their rough texture, irregular shapes and tones of gold and brown inject warmth and a hint of the natural world to the interior.

Mixing modern and traditional in the bedroom

In the bedroom, the architects were conscious of preserving the open feel that exists in the rest of the house. A half wall anchors the bed, but leaves the sleeping area open to the rest of the room. Even within this one room, we have a change of levels, as the area behind the half wall is three steps higher than the bed. This allows the home owners to create separate, yet connected, areas for specific functions.

The bedroom illustrates how the designers used traditional elements within the modern space. The overall architecture continues to be clean and simple with smooth white plaster, angled ceiling and wood accents in the beams and floor. However, soft textiles on the bed, a very traditional sofa and a colourful patterned rug make this a cozy and inviting bedroom.

An artistic bathroom

One area where the architects embraced modernity is in this bathroom. The sinuous curves and clean lines of the freestanding tub make a utilitarian fixture into a piece of sculpture. Rather than a single window or art on the walls, the architects built niches and cubes that provide natural light, storage and display.

White paint showcases the angles and levels in the plasterwork, while wood in the niches and on the vanity create a cohesive design story with the wood used elsewhere in the home.

New architecture for a historic island

To conclude our tour, we revisit the exterior, this time at dusk. Warm light shines through the windows casting a golden glow over the plateau. Small puck lights dot the overhang of the roof, gradually growing wider and wider apart. The lights accentuate the slope of the roof as it rises gently into the darkening sky.

While a new addition to the island of Jersey, this home shows great respect for its setting and is a welcome new addition to this historic island.

What's your favourite part of this modern home? What do you dream of having in your seaside home?

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