Take a peek inside the stunning Farnham home that has been shortlisted for the RIBA House of the Year 2023 award

Middle Avenue is located on a corner plot of land in suburban Farnham Park. Although they have more recently developed into custom styles, an underlying general language of Arts and Crafts is very much present. Designed by the rural office of architecture for clients and their adult children as an adaptable family home, Middle Avenue has been meticulously researched and there is plenty of evidence of an affinity for the architecture’s late 19th century period.

Upon entering you are welcomed into a comfortable lobby. A wooden screen allows light to shine through the basket-weave panels, a side table sits beneath a favorite panel, and behind it a full-height mirror completes the set. In this modest space, consideration of how the building would elevate everyday activities was clearly close to mind throughout the design development.

The relative pressure of the atrium is divided into a triple-height hall that forms the axis of the house. Hence, the principles of home organization are determined. The perpendicular volume of the ground floor corresponds to the mature laurel hedge that marks the boundaries of the garden. Above that, a steep roof accommodates more private spaces.

Off the hall cascade all the primary indoor and outdoor living spaces. The kitchen focuses attention in front of you, the living room is off to the side, while a beautiful staircase invites you to explore the book-lined gallery space above.

There is a quiet assurance of spatial sequence that belies the complexity of their arrangement, especially in relation to the sculpted ceiling volumes above.

Custom wood elements are found throughout the ground floor, where their warmth against the interior brick and painted plaster plays to great effect. Manufactured off-site and installed within two weeks, the workmanship these pieces display is exceptional.

The material palette on the first floor is simpler than that on the ground floor, but less attention is paid to its use. Bedrooms hide in the ceiling and overlook finely detailed dormer windows that offer views of the gardens below or the tree canopies and sky above.

Points of orientation provide moments to encourage a brief pause: for example, a dressing table overlooks the garden before the entrance to the master bedroom suite.

Throughout the home, inside and out, the care taken for the client, the precision of architectural detail, and the craftsmanship that made it happen are clearly evident.

Middle Avenue, Farnham Rural Architecture Office for a private client Contract value: Confidential GIA: 285m2

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