RIBA Stirling prize nominated Hopkins architects have designed the latest house in the Living Architecture series. The Long House is Sir Michael and Patty Hopkins’ first UK residential property in thirty years and the fourth rental property to open in the Living Architecture series. The house demonstrates a harmony between the respect for traditional craftsmanship, taking cues from the local vernacular, combined with a fascination for the utility and aesthetic of high technology.
The exterior flint walls of The Long House are reminiscent of barns and churches of the region. They are impressively crafted with locally-sourced stones from the quarry at Holt. They extend beyond the confines of the house to enclose a Morning and Evening Yard at either end which, together with the site’s existing mature trees, protect the house from any prevailing marshland winds. The interior is largely open plan with an impressive double height entrance gallery. A two-way stove divides the gallery from the comfortable sitting area beyond. At the other end is the kitchen / dining area. The spiral stair leads up to four bedrooms and bathrooms.
Located only 3km from the sea, the large first floor windows offer impressive coastal views across the flat terrain. The pitched roof is formed by elegant timber trusses tied with steel cables. A fifth ensuite and accessible bedroom is located in an annexe adjacent to the Morning Yard, making this a five-bedroom property that comfortably sleeps ten people and thus the largest of the current Living Architecture houses. The Hopkins have designed bespoke primary-coloured bedroom furniture for the house, which contrasts with the backdrop of sleek ash flooring and walls. Elements of the rough exterior walls are expressed in the slightly textured lime render used on the interior walls.
There are two main garden areas. To the front, mature plum, apple and hazelnut trees border a gravel driveway giving access to the house. The front and rear gardens have been planted with wild meadow mix, which will embed the house in the Norfolk landscape. Horses, ponies and sheep graze peacefully in the surrounding meadow. There are many curiosities to explore in the area, from the World War Two ground-to-air gunnery training simulator at nearby Langham, a 25 x 40’ black concrete dome, currently under restoration, to the picturesque seaside village of Wells-nextthe- sea and sandy beaches at Holkham.