Dramatic Coastal Self-Build

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Take a tour around Silver House - a majestic project that capitalises on its stunning setting

When planning to relocate Mr and Mrs Silver wanted a home which be an escape from the chaotic atmosphere of London and provide them with some much needed work / life balance.

The couple approached Hyde and Hyde and immediately trusted them with the project, "they totally understood what we wanted and approached the house design around how we lived our lives," say the couple.

Fact file

Location: South Wales

Project: Self-build

Style: Contemporary

House size: 350m2

Project cost: £1,000,000

Construction time: 4 years, 11 months

Located on the dramatic wind swept coastline of the Gower Peninsula, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the home is perched up high on a limestone cliff where the Bristol Channel meets the Atlantic Ocean.


As with many other builds there were planning constraints involving adjoining owners. These mainly revolved around the window to window distances and the breath-taking views south to the ocean.

Having ‘room to breathe’ was a particular requirement. To allow this, the position of the house to the east is defined by the existing entrance and the need to provide direct access to a discreetly positioned carport. This acts to push the form to the west and provide a more spacious feel between properties.

Battling the elements

“We were concerned about planning, particularly as the house is located on the Gower peninsula, but they expertly navigated the process and got us our dream”, says the couple.

Indeed this was one of the main challenges faced in the design process of the build. The home needed to authentically stand up to the powerful and varied environment.

This authenticity is particularly obvious through the use of a series of confident forms and roof plans and a subtle play of authentic materially, which is expressed as seams, linings and cantilevers.

As the location was faced with relentless rain and wind from the ocean, creating an enduring roof was of the upmost importance. Hyde and Hyde used a mono pitch roof which created a low profile and would boldly stand against the elements.

Heavy material was utilised on the ground floor to provide the build with much needed stability, whil reflecting the medieval tradition of stone walling commonly found in the area. The sharply defined portal windows with integrated seating and the concrete of this floor act to further induce this sense of protection and comfort.

Creating character

Much of the build was planned to express and reflect the surrounding landscape.  The house is structured to balance light and heavy building elements. Thus, reinforcing a specific atmosphere within.

The heavy and protected ground floor is made up of bedrooms and living spaces, making the house feel grounded and homely. Meanwhile, the first floor is liberated, uplifting and light with natural lighting, and the views of the spectacular surroundings.

The timber beams of the living spaces reflect the construction of nearby agricultural buildings. However, they also separate the floors and create a strong sense of horizontality. This separation expertly reinforces the buildings spirit, breaking its mass, creating a lower profile. This results in the building appearing confident in its orientation and purpose.

Interiors reflecting the exterior

The homes entrance is placed centrally so that those entering are positioned at a key point on the first floor. This positioning acts to emphasise the drama and the views created by the open plan living space.

The interior arrangement of rooms was also part of meticulous planning around the buildings poetic relationship with its scenery. The kitchen to the east harnesses the dawn light, the main living spaces face the views and catch the midday sun, while the master bedroom faces the west and the setting sun.

Ideal result

The completed built stands up and cooperates with the elements of coastline, yet also provides the couple the comfort they need. “Hyde and Hyde challenged us throughout the design process, with lots of debate, but we are delighted with the outcome and absolutely love our new home that wouldn’t have been created without their amazing work”, says the couple.

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