A drawing room and kitchen-family room which show just what is possible when you blend old and new

The living and dining spaces of Chitcombe House in Dorset offer all manner of lessons in making a modern family home that's sympathetic to the great architectural traditions.

It’s ten years since Dorset-based architect Stuart Martin completed the initial plans following a brief given to him by Roderick and Lydia Wurfbain: creating a modern house in the Classical tradition.

It took five more years for Chitcombe House to be completed, and the resulting house, inspired by the likes of Edwin Lutyens and Detmar Blow is a home that blends old and new in a wonderful manner.

As Jeremy Mussons wrote in Country Life in September 2017, ‘Chitcombe House is designed with a sense of proper solidity, around the light from the passage of the day, using the best of available materials and it is, as a house should be, good to live in and, as a result of this, “good to look on”.’

The drawing room at Chitcombe House. ©Justin Paget/Country Life

The drawing room at Chitcombe House. ©Justin Paget/Country Life

The drawing room and kitchen/family room are both cases in point. The former has a detailed fireplace with projecting Doric columns to give a sense of grandeur – Mr Martin designed the fireplace personally.

The latter, meanwhile, is a true family area, with kitchen, eating space and sitting room all contained in one long room that fills the eastern side of the house. This has views out to the east, south and north. The formal dining room meets it at one end, while at the other it links to utility rooms in the single-storey wing, which forms part of the enclosure of the entrance courtyard.

Mr Musson described elements of the house as being ‘bold and playful’, while Mr Martin himself explains that he wanted tohe house to ‘create a sense of discovery, offering ‘a little flourish slightly above what you would expect to encounter in a Dorset combe.’


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