Charsfield, Suffolk


Architect: Cedric Green

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“An elegant yet comfortable house which successfully uses passive solar energy”

Retaining the beauty of functionalist architect Cedric Green’s original design, this three-bedroom house sits in the heart of Charsfield, a picturesque village surrounded by undulating Suffolk countryside. It was built in 1985 yet is distinctly modern, with high levels of insulation, solar gain through expanses of south-facing double glazing and the use of natural materials. The fluid interior plan overlooks a bucolic rear garden, with off-street parking in the front and a separate timber-clad storage shed/utility room/workshop. The house is six miles north of Woodbridge and 15 miles away from the beautiful Suffolk coastline.

The Tour

One of three built in a row over 20 years, Green designed this house for his parents. It is set behind a verdant hedge and an impressive walnut tree that create a wonderful sense of privacy. To one side is a shingled parking area and handy secondary side access to the house. ‘Moya’ was a prize winner in the first ‘European Passive Solar Design Competition’ in 1980. Its success was followed by the construction of 14 houses along similar lines at Paxton Court in Sheffield, UK.

The front door opens to flowing single-storey accommodation, laid out to suit cosy winter and sunny summer living. Both in concept and detail, the focus throughout is on minimising energy consumption and ecological impact.

The house has been sympathetically and significantly modernised while retaining the beauty and genius of the original design. Lovingly maintained original features and structural elements have been paired with a distinctly contemporary approach and emphasis on eco-upgrades, exemplified by the heavily insulated metal roof, the introduction of double glazing and chevron-patterned timber cladding, painted a soft light blue. This has created an elegant, comfortable house which successfully uses passive solar energy in conjunction with an ingenious duct and fan system.

An entrance lobby and short hall leads to a wonderfully welcoming L-shaped living area, where the sociable layout affords generous space to gather, relax, dine and study.

Lofty and incredibly light care of high ceilings and walls of glazed panels, the sitting area rests to one side. Golden oak flooring runs underfoot and a warming log-burning stove provides a natural focal point to supplement the concealed eco-friendly air source heating. The living spaces flow with ease onto the adjacent deck, an ideal spot for a morning coffee.

Next to here is the dining area, ringed and roofed in double-glazed panels and with a floor of burnt red clay tiles. This convivial spot is conservatory-like in character, emphasised by a productive grape vine that weaves around the structure enhancing a feeling of alfresco dining, indoors.

A further retreat lies at the eastern end of the room, where evening light is drawn through the glazed walls. These also frame bucolic garden views, making it a restful place to read.

The kitchen occupies a central position within the plan. Practically laid out to suit everyday life, it has runs of simple white cabinetry that house modern appliances, offer generous workspace and plenty of storage.

Three double bedrooms line the north-eastern corner of the house, accessed directly from the main living space. Here, the sense of flow and openness, apparent throughout the house, is further supported. While each of the rooms has a distinct character, all are bright and could be adopted as home-working spaces. One of the rooms has a mezzanine level above, while the the other two are connected.

The shared family shower room sits off the entrance hall and has a black-tiled floor and a painted V-groove boarded ceiling.

Outdoor Space

The rear garden sits harmoniously within its rural setting. Bushy and lush borders edge the central area, which is laid to lawn. Beyond this, running gently to the adjacent boundary ditch and open farmland, is an immersive celebration of biodiversity that teems with flora and fauna, attracting birds, bees and butterflies.

There are enticing places to gather and entertain positioned throughout, with contemplative spots to relax and enjoy nature or a glorious Suffolk midsummer sunset.

A standalone and versatile timber-clad storage shed has an architectural profile that echoes the main house. As well as providing handy utility space, it has room for potting, growing and general hobbying.

The Area

Charsfield is a rural hamlet in the picturesque Suffolk countryside. Recognised for its strong community spirit, the village has a primary school as well as countless footpaths and quiet country lanes that offer a variety of walking and cycling routes. It also came into public recognition as the inspiration for Ronald Blyth’s book ‘Akenfield’, later adapted into film by Peter Hall.

There are many fine dining options locally, with The Greyhound at Pettistree a particular favourite for its seasonal menus inspired by the rural surroundings.

Woodbridge, around six miles south, is a great place for everyday needs with its array of supermarkets, independent shops, and various restaurants, pubs and cafés including the renowned Unruly Pig. The town hosts a bustling farmers’ market on the second Saturday of every month.

The house is also minutes by car from the beautiful town of Framlingham, with its popular market and castle. It has brilliant provisors, an excellent pub The Station and a terrific Italian restaurant, Watson and Walpole. The Dancing Goat café is also a great spot for a coffee.

The nearby Suffolk coast is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with a rich history and a network of inland and coastal paths, which wind amongst the many estuaries and waterways that define the landscape. It is also increasingly noted for its cultural attractions.

Snape Maltings is a 20-minute drive away; a mix of converted malthouses and granaries dating from the mid-19th century, several exhibitions occur here throughout the year. It also hosts Aldeburgh Festival, a 24-day event celebrating music & the arts, opera, comedy and film. The seaside town of Aldeburgh lies alongside and is famed for ice cream, fish and chips, and as the home of Benjamin Britten.

The attractive town of Orford is a 25-minute drive away. Locals and visitors are enticed for its twice-daily drops of fresh lobster and crabs, and the town has a renowned oysterage and smokehouse and the excellent Pump Street Bakery.

The nearest station, at Campea Ashe, operates direct services to Ipswich in around 40 minutes, from where both Cambridge and London Liverpool Street can be reached in just over an hour. There is also good access to the A12.

Council Tax Band: C

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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