Great Whittington
Hexham, Northumberland


Architect: Greatspace Architects

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“Light and exciting spaces function with dexterity beyond their size”

Defined by its relationship with the grassy uplands and sky, this extraordinary and sophisticated off-grid house is a place to disconnect and reconnect. Bedded within the windswept hills lining the Northumberland landscape, its striking, simple forms stand in beautiful contrast to the surroundings.

Designed by local architects, Greatspace, and with eco-credentials at its core, the design capitalises on its context, making the most of the captivating natural light. Crafted interior spaces are meticulously realised and exploit every nook and cranny. The house lies within walking distance to the village and around nine miles north-east of the popular town of Hexham and 18 miles west of the buzzing city of Newcastle.

The information we have been provided with advises that the house may only be occupied for 10 months in one annual year. Occupation does not need to be taken in one consecutive period. More information is available on request.

The Architect

An emerging young studio based in Hexham, Greatspace Architects’ expertise lies in one-off and context-driven residential design. With a mission to produce responsible, sustainable buildings, the practice designs towards Passivhaus standards and is committed to reducing carbon use.

The Tour

Winding through the rugged Northumberland backdrop, a quiet country road leads from the small rural village of Great Whittington to this house, where a series of low rectangular elevations form its architectural profile. Slate roofing sits atop crisp silhouettes of white render and darkened stained boards, striking dramatically against the hillscapes.

Retaining the integrity of its genesis as a telephone exchange, the original structure has been renovated and extended with great flare and sensitivity. As if an unfolding Swiss army knife, four distinct ‘cabins’ stretch along the bordering dry stone dykes. Imaginatively designed and with acute attention to detail, the spaces inside and out function with a dexterity well beyond their size. Deft touches and creative slights of hand are apparent at every turn.

To the front of the house, there is space to park two cars and handy sheds for tools, storage and everyday accoutrement. Adjacent is a lovely grassy spot to sit and read, amidst beds of fragrant herbs and flowers.

The primary entrance is via a central courtyard. Hunkering to the earth it is festooned with fragrant planting, colourful flower troughs, bench seating, and sturdy trellising wrapped in verdant climbers. Sunken and with a crinkly Perspex roof providing shelter and shade, this is an enticing al fresco spot in all seasons.

Conceived to be warm and inviting, the interiors provide an evocative gamut of materials and textures complementing a succession of richly haptic, experiential spaces. The layout is simply orchestrated to appear effortless and graceful, with a play of light responding to the ever changing weather. In summer, doors and windows are thrown open, and the house spills onto the courtyard. In cooler months, the internal spaces transform into homely retreats.

The living space, kitchen and bathroom lie to one side of the terrace and the bedroom to the other. Throughout, windows and glazed doors are strategically placed to introduce the setting, and bathe all the rooms in a wonderful quality of ever changing natural light.

Lofty gabled ceilings, concealed elements, built-in furniture and storage solutions define the beautiful living and dining area. There is an array of places to sit, eat, relax, and look out over the surrounding fields, where sheep are ever present visitors. A HD projector and drop-down screen provide movie night entertainment, while the gas fire forms a natural focal point.

The galley kitchen sits adjacent. Here, banks of French grey cabinetry and an abundance of appliances are neatly tucked under thick plywood tops, providing ample storage and workspace. A bathroom lies next door, complete with full-sized tub, a mirrored wall, and a refined tongue-and-grooved boarded ceiling. Initially hidden from view, a drop-down ladder accesses a sleeping platform, with space for two beds.

The generous bedroom cabin provides further retreat. Set on the northern side of the plot expansive corner glazing looks to the broader landscape and provides a beautiful place to rest and write. Meticulously realised joinery lines the walls, affording generous storage.

Outside Space

The generous sheltered courtyard affords a seamless transition between the outside and inside. This terrace is a wonderful space to enjoy the views from dawn until dusk, and to eat and drink outside through every season.

Tiered levels delineate more intimate places to repose, with bench seating aside the sleeping cabin providing lovely additional vantage points. Throughout, planting has been chosen in accordance with the climatic landscape, with native hawthorn bushes lining the walkways. The backdrop is captivating, with the house flowing seamlessly to the surrounding moorland, where afternoons can be spent walking or cycling all year round. At night, the sky is often ablaze with stars.

Entirely off-grid and self-sufficient, the house has a private water supply care of a borehole, an array of solar panels and an automatic generator.

The Area

Deer, hares, hedgehogs, owls and curlews are frequent visitors to this rural spot which lies within walking distance of Great Whittington – a picturesque hamlet with an excellent pub, The Queen’s Head. Many hikes start from the house gate and Saint Oswald’s walk begins at the village.

Matfen is around 3 miles away, where there is a delightful cafés and deli, popular with walkers and hikers. Matfen Hall is a perfect choice for fine dining and close by is The Rat Inn at Anick, an award winning gastro pub and two Michellin-starred restaurants within five miles: Hiem in Wall, and Pine at Wallhouses.

The handsome town of Hexham lies around nine miles south-west on the banks of the Tyne. Centred around Hexham Abbey, the winding high street offers an array of shops, galleries, independent cafés and restaurants along with a beloved monthly farmers’ market, the art deco Forum Cinema, and the wonderful Beaumont hotel.

The surrounding historic landscape is marked by Hadrian’s Wall which stretches westwards along the Tyne from from Wallsend, near Newcastle to Bowness-on-Solway. The path cuts close to the village and can be followed along to Roman Ruins and series of lovely National Trust tea shops.

Corbridge, with its Roman site, lies five miles away with artisan shops, such as the award winning Grants bakery and Acanthus for homewares, as well as the renowned, contemporary jewellery boutique Saunders and Pughe . Cafés include Grants for amazing cakes, and there are several enticing pubs.

Newcastle is just over half an hour by car. This lively city is teeming with galleries, theatres music venues, including the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, The Biscuit Factory, Sage Gateshead. The city has an excellent food scene with award-winning restaurants and micro-breweries.

The house is excellently placed to enjoy the dramatic landscapes of Northumberland. To the north is Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water and Forest with plenty of cycling and walking trails, as well as its Dark Sky Park Observatory.

The Northumberland 250 route runs along the A68, a mile from the house. This scenic circular routes via the magnificent Cragside, to the stunning Northumbrian coast. Carlisle, 46 scenic miles west, is the gateway to the Lake District National Park. To the south is the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The East & West Coast mainline railways both run from Hexham, connecting to Newcastle in half an hour. The village is well placed to connect to major roads including the A68, A69, A1 and M6. Newcastle international airport is an easy 25 minute drive with regular flights to London and beyond.

Council Tax Band:  B

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.

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