In Aldeburgh, Suffolk, on top of Marsh Hill, sits a new build that has embraced all of the surrounding landscape and combines it with colour and flair to reflect the personalities of its owners. It was built by Mole Architects in Cambridge, who say this about the project: "Our clients Ben and Richard (and dog Henry) purchased the site in Aldeburgh in 2012, having spent many a holiday in the area. The site, within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and partially within a Site of Special Scientific Interest was occupied at the time by a dilapidated, rambling house which had a poor connection to the site and wider landscape. In 2013 the breach of the local flood defences caused by exceptionally high tides flooded the site, enhancing the existing need for the new house to be protected against future flooding. The site slopes upwards from east to west, rising around two meters to the west. Taking advantage of this change in section, the new house is set higher and predominantly single storey, with a split level ground floor living space with panoramic view across the landscape. The soft grey weathered zinc roof twists as it rises upwards from west to east, creating a dramatic double height living space and master bedroom suite in the highest section of the roof, while the guest rooms, studio and storage areas nestle within the lower end. The white painted brick and zinc presents a limited and subtle pallet, a reflection of the silver water beyond." Their design means that all of the main rooms have large windows, to maximise the light and views about which ceramicist Ben says, "The birds here are just fantastic, especially as the tide goes out and the wading birds come in. It's become a new interest for us. You see these amazing things and want to know what they are, so our knowledge is growing. We have marsh harriers and also an owl that comes by every night."
For the interiors, they engaged the services of Interior Couture, who they had worked with before. "Ben and Richard were really looking for a clean-lined, contemporary country house, influenced by the mid-century aesthetic, as well as suiting their artworks and ceramics." And Interior Couture have certainly delivered on this - the house is a carefully-controlled riot of colour and texture, packed with fun colours and geometrics which sit perfectly amongst the soaring ceilings or wood-clad walls. The use of warm colours is especially important in the main living room - with high white walls and brick floors, this room could feel cold an impersonal but the additions of reds and yellow, warms it all up. In the three bedrooms, which are more cocooning, slick wood-clad walls and soothing blues are used to create areas linked to the calming landscape. Flooring is a particular feature with a variety being used - from authentic brick and oak, to funky cement tiles in the bathroom and terrazzo in the kitchen. The kitchen's terrazzo floor is beautifully complemented by the bespoke island unit and brown-grey granite top. Textures are also very important in this project - linens on the beds and cottons and wools elsewhere soften the hard wall lines. The dining banquette is a practical but soft leather and rugs everywhere soften and add colour and more texture. "The design of the house takes perfect advantage of the location with the positioning of the windows and the framing of the views," says archivist Richard. "You really appreciate the landscape, but there isn't so much glass that you feel as if you are in a greenhouse. The interiors feel cosy and coherent but with a connection to this fragile, dynamic landscape." We couldn't agree more and Marsh Hill is a perfect example of creating a modern country house, that still feels organic and authentic to its surroundings.