You all know how much we love bringing our ’Top 10’ Ideabooks to you and having looked at the best homes in the whole country and those we love in the North, we are now turning our attention to the fabulous South.
From beachfront wonders through to hidden gems and urban masterpieces, we have something for everyone and think we have presented the crème de la crème of southern architecture. As ever, we had strict criteria that we judged the houses on, those being that each home had to be fully functional, suitable to live in and it must have features that make it stand out from other properties. We may throw in a wild card or two but, bear with us, as once you see what we do, we have no doubt you will fall in love with each and every home.
Let's take a look at our pick of the best and see if you agree with our choices!
Though clearly unusual and aesthetically delightful from the outside, what you can't see is the level of detail that has gone into completing this five-bedroom house in Cornwall. With a split roof design, this forward thinking house has taken every opportunity to tackle new innovations and, thanks to the open plan interior design, every nuance can be fully appreciated and not hidden away.
With a bespoke kitchen, games room, indoor heated swimming pool and conservatory all in situ, this is a house that doesn't shy away from the finer things in life and offers beautiful balcony views to all the first floor bedrooms. In addition to looking fantastic and being fully functional as a family home, The Sea House was also the Winner of the 2010 LABC South West Building Excellence Awards for Best Individual Dwelling. It really does pay to inject a little character into your home!
This stunning home is the answer to a client request to design a
modern house in a natural river inlet with a very scenic shoreline. The end result is utterly spectacular.
Built by The Manser Practice, the house features a transparent living wing, which allows for beautiful views and an opaque bedroom block that is accessed via a translucent transitional corridor, tying both sections of the house together. Finished in a bright white, the sharp lines of the house mirror the horizon and bring defined style to the waterside. Accessible by boat and more conventional methods, this is a house that not only met the client brief, it surpassed it and earned itself a prize at the British Homes Awards 2014. We can certainly see why!
Incredibly eye-catching from the exterior, The Ship House, so called because of its striking resemblance to a cruise liner, we assume, is a multi-storey dwelling that offers vast amounts of living space and breathtaking sea views.
A cacophony of cream marble, dark wood and open plan design, the interior certainly lives up to the façade and while there is a touch of the Art Deco about this build, thanks to the rounded corners and roof overhang, the vast swathes of glazing bring it right back into the modern era. If the exterior has piqued your interest, take a look inside, as the kitchen alone is to die for!
A super insulated and high end 3-bedroom house, The Lighthouse is something of an enigma that will keep us coming back for more.
Looking slightly strangely placed, the house is situated between two other buildings with a seafront view to the bottom of the property boundary that stretches as far as The Isle of Wight. The design team claim that traditional beach pavilions were a major source of inspiration when creating this property and that they actively sought to take full advantage of the permissible width of the plot so that every important living space could look out onto impressive views. With this in mind, all purely functional rooms, such as bathrooms and utility areas, are found at the rear of the property.
A fascinating feature is the use of the roof as a parking area as the house itself is seven metres below ground level, allowing cars to simply drive on, but this is not the most interesting aspect of the build. A frameless glass cube sits proudly on top of the house, which acts as a lighthouse. Triggered automatically by barometer readings, the illuminated glass cube changes colour according to sailing conditions with green indicating that the weather is fair and red warning that atmospheric pressure could herald an oncoming storm. Genius!
Found on the South East corner of Hayling Island, Pooley House plays home to a water sports fanatic that wanted a property as geared to his interests as he was. You can clearly see the private jetty, perfect for bringing a small boat or jet skis back onto dry land and with the large wooden 'box' looking directly out to sea, the perfect conditions will never be overlooked!
The first floor is largely open plan and connects to the rest of the house through clever glazing and lighting techniques. A home truly built to the owner's specifications, we can imagine that aesthetics was a lesser concern and yet the overall effect is something truly special. The white render and cedar wood have combined to make a house not only suitable for water sports fans, but design fanatics too.
Photos by James Morris
Residing in Swanage, The Quest is a replacement project that looks to take advantage of the surroundings by including a lot of wood. Having established early in the project that a single-storey building would best suit the client, who was a recently retired professional, the architect team set about tackling the steeply sloped site to create a new design.
Cantilevers have been put to good use and allow for the dramatic car port overhang, seen here, to be realised. The house is said to exemplify the belief of the design team that simple and honest construction always underpins great design and having more than met the client's requirements, this is a hugely successful building. From an aesthetic point of view, we think the look of this house is simultaneously classic and modern and blends beautifully with the trees in the background. What a showstopper!
There is no mistaking that this is an exceptionally high end build but what you can't see from the outside is just how perfectly every client requirement has been met.
From the outside, we are staggered by the use of natural stone, full height glazing and discreet lighting to create a property that wouldn't be out of place in a gated community of LA and yet it is found in Poole. The attention to detail adhered to with the exterior has been continued throughout the rest of the house with perfect marble floors, sweeping dark wood staircases and countless bespoke touches all combining to make a home that royalty would feel comfortable in. Absolutely stunning and something a little bit different, we had no hesitation in including this home in our top 10!
On first glance, you would be forgiven for assuming that this is a heritage property, especially given the setting, but it is actually a brand new design that has been inspired by classical architecture.
Inside, the layout is eminently modern with open plan spaces and clean lines really ruling the roost but what sets this property apart is the landscape it sits within. A key driving force behind the design of the new house, the eighteenth century canal dictated that a heritage style property was the only thing that could look appropriate.
Whether it is genuinely a period house or merely mimicking the style of one, we think this property looks spectacular in the surroundings and that the design team have done an amazing job of building something suitably sympathetic without going over the top. By blending a modern interior with the outside too, the feat is all the more impressive.
Found deep in the heart of the Cotswolds, Hill Barn (seen to the right) was a derelict 300 year old stone building found on the top of a hill. Being in an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there was little hope of gaining the necessary planning permission to restore or rebuild it so instead, a clever compromise was reached; a new and modern structure would be built underneath it. Underhill House was deliberately designed and built as a Passivhaus – a German innovation that sees properties generating 90% less carbon emissions than standard, making this as ecologically responsible as it is visually stunning.
Dating back to the 1970s, the original house that was on this site has been replaced with this terrifically modern installation, directly influenced by a nearby property also built by the same architectural team. Offering amazing, if slightly spooky views, the mass of glazing helps to get the most from them, while simultaneously performing a camouflaging function.
Replacing the original house, this four-floor building is a beautiful combination of austere, opaque materials and crystal clear glazing and seems to soak up all the natural light on offer. A terrifically unusual shape and style, we had to include this inspiring build in our top 10!
For more of our favourite houses throughout the UK, take a look at this Ideabook: Top 10 - The Most Beautiful Houses In Britain.