Contemporary riverside home filled with natural light

When the current owners bought River House the choice was to renovate the existing property that had been built in the 1930s and extended a number of times, or demolish it entirely and start again from scratch. After much discussion with architects and the planning authorities the decision was made to create a brand new, contemporary home to their exact specification.

We spent a lot of time trying to work with the house as it was, but in the end it was obvious that we weren’t going to be able to achieve what we wanted or to do the plot of land and the view over the river justice, unless we bit the bullet and went for the self-build option.

The owners created a brief for Ben Powell Architects but it was his vision that really transformed a dream into reality, changing the orientation of the house from the previous incarnation, so that the river-facing elevation would allow for the maximum amount of glass to make the most of the view. Once planning was achieved the task of delivering the project passed to Manningtree based Rose Builders who acted as the main contractor for the build.

At ground floor level the main family space consists of an open-plan kitchen, dining and living room which extend across the entire width of the back of the house. To maximise the views out the architect worked with IDSystems to specify a 4-panel set of theEDGE2.0 sliding doors which measure 12m wide – the maximum achievable in that configuration.

Rather than opt for a centre-opening set of doors, as would typically be the case with a 4-panel set of doors, theEDGE2.0 is designed with 3-panels sliding behind a fixed frame at one end to create an incredible 9m opening when the doors slide back. The other benefit of the system design is that the narrow frames are consistent across the width of the doors, maximising the amount of glass and providing almost uninterrupted views out.

As a couple we have spent a lot of time travelling for work so as we start looking to the future and a time where we might start to slow down a bit we wanted to create something that we could really call home and create a space that worked for us but also was perfect for having our family here.

At first floor level three sets of theEDGE2.0 have been incorporated into the design. All three are designed as 2-panel systems to maintain the symmetry of the building, with the central set of doors featuring a fixed frame gable window above. As you climb the stairs from the ground floor the first thing you are aware of is the huge double-height ceiling and the incredible views out of the river that the elevation allows.

We had originally contemplated having bifolding doors so that we could open the panels up completely, however the more research we did and looked at how many frames there would need to be, the more it became obvious that sliding doors were the right way to go. The frames are so narrow that you hardly notice they are there and we get the best view of the river possible.

In addition to the four sets of sliding doors in the main part of the house there are two further sets of theEDGE2.0. At ground level the doors allow the study to enjoy views over the garden towards the river, whilst at first floor level the system has been designed as a sliding window – continuing the design of the doors below to match up the frames and panels.

To complement the sliding doors and windows the house was designed with thirty-four triple glazed Thermo65 aluminium windows on the other three elevations of the property, including a triple-height window that brightens up the stairwell and the house also features IDSystems’ Hoveton aluminium front door finished in RAL 7022 Umbra grey in a matt finish to complement the finish of the sliding doors and windows.

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