North Foreland Avenue, Broadstairs, Kent


Architect: Giles Miller Studios

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“A bold sculptural façade disguises this simple form with its woodland setting beside the Kent coast”

An exciting fusion of high-tech materials and exquisite craftsmanship characterise this beautifully detailed four-bedroom house within Broadstairs’ coveted North Foreland Estate. Just a few minutes from some of the best beaches on the Kent Coast, the house is surrounded by mature trees, which lend the house feeling of absolute seclusion and privacy. An innovative façade in tessellating geometric swirls softens the angular lines of the house’s form. A 360-degree circulation on the ground floor combines with the houses’ position in the centre of its plot to establish luscious sightlines of its leafy backdrop from its copious windows. In every space, surfaces beg to be touched or admired as the light changes through the house throughout the day. It is an exquisite realisation of an exciting vision.

The Designer

This striking house is the first residential project of Giles Miller Studio, known for its innovative design of pavilions and public spaces. Founded in 2011 by Giles and Sarah-Jane Miller, the practice has built a reputation for exploring materiality and light. Their work combines high-tech and handmade to create richly textured designs with real tactility. Woven epitomises this approach and has translated these core principles masterfully into a domestic setting.

The Tour

The house sits nestled in its woodland plot behind a broad driveway with space for several cars. Raised on steels stilts sunken into concrete pile foundations, the house is composed of two simple oblong forms stacked on one another. The simplicity of the design is enlivened by the intricate façade. Recycled sculptural modules in an almost helictical structure wrap around the house, establishing a whirling trellis for climbing plants and softening the edges of the house such that it melds with the surrounding trees.

Inside, the generous expanses of glazing welcome light and nature as an integral part of the scheme. Downstairs, the living spaces have been arranged around a central service area which houses utilities, the WC, storage and the stairwell. This pushes the living spaces out towards the light and establishes a flowing 360 circulation around the ground floor, split broadly into four quadrants. A heated polished concrete floor runs throughout the downstairs, unifying the spaces and providing an industrial accent to the cantilevered glulam beams and cross-laminated timber walls which it sits alongside.

Entry is to a wide lobby with bespoke built-in storage; the kitchen stretches out to the left. Designed by Object Atelier, the exactingly executed kitchen has been realised in custom-made birch ply units with Caesar stone surfaces and elegant eco-conscious Tala lighting above accompanied by Miele appliances. A large kitchen island centres the space and provides a sociable congregating point. Beyond this is a distinct dining area overlooking the rear lawn and perched beside double-glazed doors which step out to the garden. This rear half of the house is shared with a beautiful living room. A more secluded living room is tucked in a front quadrant and can be partitioned by heavy curtains to soundproof the TV and create privacy for an ad-hoc visitor’s bedroom.

A bespoke bent steel staircase rises through the central core of the house to the first floor and its four equally sized-bedrooms. The wide landing has space for a desk overlooking the treetops. The bedrooms are all en suite with slightly different configurations. In two of the rooms, clever joinery slides across to reveal and conceal an in-room bathtub and separate shower room. The other two bedrooms at the back of the plan are dual aspect and have shower room en suites.

From the landing, an elegantly crafted curved step rises to the sliding doors that announce the terrace. Stretching along the rear of the house is this unexpected outdoor space which peaks through the treetops to the sea beyond.

Outdoor Space

The sylvan setting of the house very much inspired its design. Beautiful mature trees, including pines and silver birches, border the half-acre plot. Set within the centre of the plot, the garden winds right around the plan, with wide glazing framing the surrounding greenery.

A wide lawn stretches out to the rear with a secluded decked seating area to one side. This is a sociable spot perfect for al fresco dining. Tucked away amongst the trees on the other side of the house is a sauna.

Over time, the house will blend more and more with its surrounding. Cleverly conceived planters sit within the houses’ façade, and already climbing jasmine, clematis and wisteria are creeping across this intricate frame. Upstairs a wide deck spans the rear of the houses. Catching the sun throughout the day, it steals glimpses of the sea across the treetops. The owner, with their focus on wellness, thought of this as a perfect vantage point for morning yoga.

The Area

The rich cultural heritage of Broadstairs has been drawing people to the Kent coastline for many years. It was an important fishing port in the 1700s and continues to wear its smugglers’ past on its sleeve; the coastline remains honeycombed with caves and tunnels around nearby Botany and Kingsgate bays. Broadstairs is also renowned as the site of Bleak House, a prominent residence on the cliff overlooking Viking Bay. Charles Dickens used to holiday at the house and wrote David Copperfield here.

In recent years, Broadstairs has enjoyed a palpable resurgence and is now home to a thriving community of independent shops and restaurants, including seafood specialist Wyatt & Jones and The Funicular Coffee Shop, which is built into the old ticket office of a long-decommissioned clifftop funicular. The old town itself remains a haven of antique shops, cafes and traditional Kentish pubs. Morelli’s ice cream parlour is a wonderfully over-the-top establishment on the seafront.

Nearby Margate is experiencing an extraordinary period of change; an influx of young creatives have been setting up in the town, including Liddicoat & Goldhill, the architects behind Maker’s House and the internationally renowned Turner Contemporary art gallery, as well as the recently-restored Dreamland. These businesses and many more like them have helped to create a thriving art, food and music scene. Much-loved Whitstable and Ramsgate are also within easy reach, as is historic Canterbury.

Broadstairs has a mainline railway station providing services to London St Pancras in approximately one hour and 20 minutes, and there are good road links to London and the rest of Kent via the motorway network. There is easy access to the Eurostar at nearby Folkestone.

Council Tax Band: F

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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