House for a Chemist in Scotland, Seamill North Ayrshire Property, West Scottish Real Estate Development, Architect

House for a Chemist in Seamill

3 Dec 2021

Location: Seamill, North Ayrshire, South West Scotland

Design: Brown & Brown Architects

House for a Chemist Seamill North Ayrshire

Photos by Edmund Sumner

House for a Chemist, Seamill, North Ayrshire

‘Create a whisper, not a shout’ was the brief given to Brown & Brown Architects by their clients, who have raised their family on the Ayrshire coast within sight of the Isle of Arran, and feel have a deep-rooted connection to this stretch of coastline. It was very important that any new additions were visually subservient to the original house, a traditional Victorian villa of red sandstone, which had faced the elements for more than 150 years.

House for a Chemist Seamill Ayrshire

House for a Chemist is the refurbishment and extension of a traditional Victorian villa, on the coast of Ayrshire. A contemporary extension, of glass and blackened stainless steel, frames views across the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran, and uses split-levels to respect the original topography of the site. New elements take the form of large social spaces, with the split levels allowing them to follow the contours of the site, and present a simple glazed elevation to the sea. The original house has been refurbished to create bedroom spaces, whilst retaining any original features, and re-introducing those which had been lost over the past 150 years.

House for a Chemist Seamill North Ayrshire

The extension takes the form of a closed timber elevation from the rear, creating protected external spaces away from the worst of the coastal weather, but moving through this facade leads to a space of minimal glazing, and a blackened stainless steel hearth wall going inside / outside, where the client can watch the worst of the weather on the Firth. A sedum roof tops the extension, minimising its visual impact when seen from the first floor of the original house, or from further uphill in the town.

House for a Chemist Seamill Scotland

Increasing thermal performance, and decreasing energy usage was of prime importance to the client, and a fabric-first approach was adopted to the original building, which saw the building envelope completely insulated, and modern and efficient sash & case windows installed.

House for a Chemist Seamill Scotland

A ground-source heat pump provides renewable heating to the scheme as a whole, with the new extension achieving levels of thermal performance significantly above building regulation targets. This is architecture of unquestionable environmental responsibility, with the client feeling a responsibility to both the house and place, which is partially delivered upon by the huge reduction in energy required to heat the Victorian house.

House for a Chemist Seamill Scotland

The project has a sense of solidity, and robustness, appropriate for such a weather-beaten location, but at the same time the use of a simple and restrained materials palette creates uncluttered spaces of calm, which contrast with both the ornateness of the original house, and the sometimes chaos of the weather beyond.

House for a Chemist Seamill North Ayrshire House for a Chemist Seamill North Ayrshire

Although this is primarily a house for a couple, they always want it to act as a anchor for their family, now settled in various locations across the globe, and be a simple and unpretentious spot where they can come together, and enjoying being home by the water.

House for a Chemist Seamill Scotland

Who are the clients and what’s interesting about them?
Two chemists, who having spent their working life in environmental fields, through removal of pollutants, wished to make their home a place they could enjoy on the edge of the sea.

House for a Chemist Seamill Ayrshire

What are the sustainability features?
The original house was completely insulated to increase thermal performance, including replacement windows, containing the original stained glass elements. The extension is also insulated to levels far in excess of building regulations, with the whole project heated via a ground-source heat pump.

House for a Chemist Seamill Scotland

House for a Chemist Seamill Scotland

What were the key challenges?
Insulating the original house, and repointing / repairing stonework, which is exposed to the worst of the coastal weather.

House for a Chemist Seamill North Ayrshire

What were the solutions?
We brought in a heritage consultant, who advised on method to prevent ‘voiding’ within the traditional stonework, whilst internally the house was insulated with Icynene, which is designed to allow the passage of moisture vapour in traditional buildings, and prevents a dew point being created within the wall.

House for a Chemist Seamill Ayrshire

Key products used:
Windows – Skyframe
Blackened Steel – Bespoke
Timber Cladding – Russwood
Microcement flooring – Concrete Living Coatings
Timber Flooring – Surface+
Kitchen – Joseph French
Stove – Firemaker
Dining Table – Faolchu

House for a Chemist Seamill Scotland

House for a Chemist in Seamill, North Ayrshire – Building Information

Design: Brown & Brown Architects
Project size: 285 sqm
Site size: 2735 sqm
Completion date: 2021
Building levels: 2

Design Engineering Workshop

Gordon Middleton Contractor

House for a Chemist Seamill North Ayrshire

Photography: Edmund Sumner

House for a Chemist, Seamill North Ayrshire images / information received 031221 from Brown & Brown Architects

Location: Seamill, North Ayrshire, South West Scotland

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