modern Houses by Guy Hollaway

This rural home has a unique response to the environment

Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada
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Travel to the little-known desert region of the UK: this inventive modern home is located near the Dungeness National Nature Reserve in Kent, where the landscape is more like a scene from an old Western movie than anything you’d expect to find while exploring Great Britain! Built by the architect Guy Hollaway, this rural wonder derives its aesthetic from the flat, scrubby landscape and the logical, utilitarian forms of rural architecture characteristic of the region’s past. Given the nickname of “Pobble House” (a phrase meaning “pebble house” in Kent) is an example of eco-centric living that maintains a down-to-Earth attitude, with simplicity speaking louder than superfluity, paired with a deliberate sense of connection to the immediate environment.

Response to the environment

The Dungeness region is off the radar for many, but this coastal headland is home to a wealth of interesting cultural, architectural, and ecological phenomena. Largely characterized by its dramatically different ecology and a strong fishing community, the area celebrates its cultural quirks that have developed over the years. For example, one of the most famous homes in the area (Prospect Cottage – a small, simple home not unlike the house you’re looking at in this tour) is known for its unique garden, which has been created with pebbles, scrap metal, drift wood, and a few scruffy native plants in a celebration of the rather bleak landscape.

Given this background, it becomes all the more apparent why the architects have chosen the layout that they did – a low-profile, no-frills structure with plain lines and basic shapes that reflects the plain, flat topography of the area.

Traditional forms

Because the home is located on a Reserve, local regulations require any new homes to be replacements of already existing buildings, built on a scale that reflects the original structure. In this design, you can clearly see the architects’ willingness to conform to traditional rural building styles, with a series of shed-like buildings similar to the sparse collection of existing homes that have been standing for decades.

​Better with time

The region experiences strong winds that carry sand and grit as they sweep across the plains. For this reason, materials like Larch wood and Corten steel have been chosen for the exterior cladding: the Larch wood will achieve a pale, silvery tone, while the Corten will develop a shell of rust. Both of these materials will retain their integrity while changing naturally through chemical processes spurred by weathering, becoming more beautiful – and developing a location-appropriate camouflage – over time from the effects of wind, sand, and salt.

Consideration for the environment

In this view, you can see how the architects have elevated the building so that it hovers a few inches off the ground, in a deliberate effort to disturb as little of the existing flora as possible. A wide wooden porch remains free from railings, echoing the liberating, expansive scenery that surrounds the home.


Inside, the scenery paints murals across many of the living room walls, beautifully framed by seamless glass panels. The furniture throughout has a hint of Scandinavian influence, its lightweight and fine-lined designs bringing a sense of lift to the room.

Dining nook

Horizontal stripes feature prominently in this dining nook, emphasizes the long, flat landscape extending on all sides.

​Focus and freedom

The sparse interior furnishing are a fitting reflection of the sparse outdoor environment, creating an interior infused with a sense of focus, intent to live free from clutter, distractions, and overindulgence. A thoughtful and eco-centric space, this home challenges mainstream lifestyles through its highly unique location and the way it has been able to respond to it’s out-of-the-ordinary environment.

Travel to Germany for another tour of simple, eco-friendly home in this ideabook: The sustainable home where simplicity rules

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modern Houses by Casas inHAUS

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