o long, Frank Lloyd Wright,” sang Simon & Garfunkel of the man who pioneered ‘organic architecture’, where buildings don’t merely stand in a landscape but both draw from and enhance it. “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature,” he advised. “It will never fail you.” And while the great modernist may no longer be with us, his inspiration lives on. Take the arresting Humblebee (the old name for the bumblebee), for instance. See how the outside is welcomed indoors by way of the substantial veranda, replete with electric blinds, and makes its way deep into the bosom of the home via bi-fold doors extending almost the full length of the combined kitchen/sitting/dining room. Stand with your back to the ground floor master bedroom (augmented by twin dressing and shower rooms, separated by floor-to-ceiling shoji screens), head for the copious entrance hall, and you’ll swiftly realise that you don’t so much walk as flow through the house. Sweeping into vision comes an oak staircase rippling down from upstairs in a manner suggesting it has grown in situ rather than be carefully handcrafted. And again, the space is as daylit as it gets without exposure to the elements. Everyone loves floor-to-ceiling windows – and you’re certainly not lacking them elsewhere in the house – but this is something else: a towering trio of glazing fully two storeys high, running from ground to roofline. Climb the stairs and you’ll find a bathroom and three further bedrooms – one ensuite – and more invitations to enjoy the great outdoors: the bedrooms again blur the boundaries between natural and manmade by opening 78 I EXETER LIVING I www.mediaclash.co.uk
Clockwise from top left: the main living area; an alternative view of the front; the stunning oak staircase in the huge entrance hall; letting the outside in
3,700 square feet
storey reception hall
out through bi-fold doors onto a pair of roof terraces, one at each end of the house to maximise your time in the sun. Lift your gaze beyond your own half-acre of land – including lawn, well-stocked flowerbeds and tropical courtyard – and you can take in far-reaching views towards Dartmoor National Park by day and blanket of stars by night. It all comes courtesy of Exmouth-based Paul Humphries Architects where, to no one’s surprise, we find the boss very much singing from the same drawing board as Mr Lloyd Wright. “Designing with nature is always best,” Paul recently told us. “Landscape first, then buildings second.” Thus, a home that starred in the final of the 2015 Best New Homes in the South West competition and was made flesh by a practice signed up to the Association for the Environment Conscious Building, employing environmentally-friendly materials wherever possible. The tranquillity is scarcely likely to be broken by anything beyond the end of the gravel drive, for the property sits in a gated development in the village of Highweek, itself standing on a ridge overlooking the market town of Newton Abbot. The lake and nature trails of Stover Country Park lie just a couple of miles away, with the bright lights of Exeter but a quick zip along the A38 dual carriageway. Nature one way, built environment the other. Perfect.
Savills, Sterling Court, 17 Dix’s Field Exeter EX1 1QA; 01392 455700; savills.co.uk