Matthews House
Somerset, 2007-9

A contemporary studio in the grounds of a Victorian house in rural Somerset.

The new building is a pitched roof, barn-like structure, shaped by the parameters of statutory permitted development and the continued growth of a retained tree and hedgerow. Externally the walls and roof are clad in lapped black rubber, creating a structure that is both alien and part of the surrounding landscape, like a Friesian cow in a field.

The timber-framed building sits on a concrete deck that grows out of the gently sloping garden to form a flush garage entrance, a garden step and an elevated sun terrace. Clad in black and white ceramic chevrons it welcomes the lawn into the interior and points towards the framed view of the Westbury White Horse beyond.

A combination of raw and refined interiors reflect the contradictory demands of rural life. The garage interior is left raw, with exposed timber framing providing useful fixing posts for tools, canoes, bikes and wetsuits, leaving floor space for the much-loved VW camper van. The studio is super insulated and lined in ply, creating a warm, timber-scented room. Blackout and gold mesh curtains allow those inside to control and filter their relationship with the views and adjacent garden, creating either a discreet retreat or a relaxed extension of family life.


Frome Road, Norton St Philip, Bath, Somerset BA2 7NP

Structural Engineer

Mark Hadden, David Partner

Further Reading

Stay at Matthews House
Chatley Studio on Air BnB