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Sleepy Hollow by The Cave

By Magaly Grosso


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Sleepy Hollow is a private residence located in Castle Hill, Prestbury, Chesire, England, and designed by The Cave.

The home overlooks a vast green lawn, and its interior is spacious and bright.

Sleepy Hollow by The Cave:

“Sleepy Hollow is a ‘next generation’ luxury home; a contemporary style property that admirably fulfils the top-of-the-market criteria required for the well-heeled Cheshire village in which it resides whilst acknowledging the evolved requirements of an enlightened purchaser in post-recession Britain.

The property was designed by Wilmslow based practice The Cave and, at the request of client Hillcrest Homes, took inspiration from Frank-Lloyd Wright’s ‘Fallingwaters’.

Sleepy Hollow recognises a shift in environmental consciousness, even at the top of the market. It signifies a new attitude to property creation that responds to need, not just desire, and that is underpinned by an obligation to deliver genuine energy efficiency and original, innovative and intuitive design.

At 10,000 sq ft it’s a big house, but it’s not big for the sake of it or to make a grandiose statement – every square foot has a practical purpose.

Rather than adopt usual building practices and retro-fit renewable technology as an eco ‘box ticking’ exercise, steps were taken at inception to reduce the impact its creation and running would have on the environment.

The design is innately environmentally respectful and is a direct response to its location. Consideration has been given to how the property sits within its one-acre, sloping site so as to create a complementary frame affording the best possible impression on approach.

Rather than the usual route of flattening a site for easy construction, the property has been ‘designed into’ the landscape; utilising the natural topography to forge a unity between building and environment whilst reducing waste sent to land fill. The lower ground floor is predominately cradled by the site and benefits from its thermal mass.

The property was orientated on site to take advantage of the solar path. This provided a desirable south facing rear aspect, and harnesses the Sun’s free energy supply to reduce reliance on artificial light and heat provision during daylight hours.

The orientation of the home dictated the layout of internal accommodation. The public spaces, such as the entrance and study, are at the front on the north side. The principal family accommodation is located at the rear, benefitting from the light and privacy.

Sleepy Hollow adopts a bold cruciform plan in contrasting slate and render. The linear form allows the majority of the building to be exposed to sunlight whilst flat roofs reinforce the contemporary intention and flow in harmony with the gently sloping terrain.

Build materials were chosen for their environmental properties as much as their aesthetic appeal. The walls are constructed from Welsh slate using the principles of dry stonewalling. The slate is a by-product of the roofing industry given new purpose and bonds the property to the natural environment.

The mass of the slate helps to slow down heat loss by creating a thermal store, reducing the buildings reliance on mechanical heating and maintaining a comfortable and stable temperature throughout.

The walls appear to extend out of the ground and anchor the building to its landscape suggesting longevity. They delineate routes and paths through the property and provide a structure on which to hang the contemporary elements.

The render is a stark contrast to the grey slate, assisting the home’s minimalist contemporary appeal. The property is topped by a flat Colourcoat Urban® roof in aged copper, chosen for its aesthetics, performance and eco-credentials so as to not be a burden to the owner or the environment.

The other principle construction material is glass, used to promote continuity between the building and the serene wooded environment; the landscape is invited into the interior rather than being viewed as a separate space.

Glazing channels light through the interior, illustrating the intention to create a fluid sequence of living spaces rather than a cluster of isolated rooms. The inclusion of internal and external glass balustrades assists with the flow of light and demonstrates attempts to lessen the impact of the property on its location.

The architecture and principal build materials set the theme for the interior finish providing continuity, drama and context.

The accommodation within Sleepy Hollow was chosen after consultation with existing customers and local property experts.

Five en-suite bedrooms are offered alongside a study, formal lounge, statement dining hall and an open plan kitchen, breakfast room and family room. All of these spaces benefit from light and space and are suited to everyday living. The lower ground floor is permitted the least amount of light making it the perfect location for the home cinema and walk-in wine cellar. The games room, gym, steam room and swimming pool are also located here, the latter with sliding glass doors to a terrace that benefits from the midday sun.

Anticipating how it’s occupants will live and move around the home has dictated the location for elements such as light switches, power sockets, mirrors and kitchen appliances. These are the tiny details that make the difference between someone loving their home or being irritated by it. By mentally putting themselves within the property, Hillcrest has endeavoured to cultivate a sense of familiarity between the property and homeowner helping them immediately feel ‘at home’.

A sophisticated home automation system makes living at Sleepy Hollow as effortless as possible.

The system controls all lighting, heating, IT and audio/visual entertainment on a whole house or individual room basis via intuitive touchscreens or all-in-one iPad/iPhone remotes. Occupants can view CCTV images, open and close gates, turn on lights, close blinds, adjust heating and play music from a central store just by pressing a button.

The intelligent KNX system governs heating and lighting controls providing different temperature zones, mood settings, task lighting sequences, all on/off intruder alert, simulated occupancy and a welcome home mode.

When away from home, all systems can be securely viewed and controlled by internet enabled computers or mobiles.

The system also controls renewable energy technology. Discreet photovoltaic panels generate electricity for personal consumption, some of which will power an air source heat pump reducing the running costs of the home. A rainwater harvesting system feeds wastewater to a garden irrigation system, capable of tailoring water distribution to the planting type. LED lighting has been used throughout to provide brighter light from lower wattage, longer lasting lamps.

Sleepy Hollow was not created on a whim but it a considered response to genuine consumer requirement, whilst pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo.”

Photos courtesy of The Cave

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About Magaly Grosso

Magaly Grosso was born in Venezuela where she grew up and studied Advertising and Marketing. With time, she realized that what she truly wanted to dedicate herself to was Interior Design, which is why she decided to study it and devote herself to it. Learn more about HomeDSGN's Editorial Process.

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