Buy Of The Week: Hampshire

When he built his Lymington home, the architect John Pardey kept it cool and uncluttered. And the result is simply fantastic, discovers Nick Lloyd Jones
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The Independent Online

The couple had very definite ideas about the kind of house they wanted to live in. "Our approach was to design a simple two-storey, wide-fronted house with a courtyard to the rear," Pardey said.

They selected the site carefully - a secluded plot of land, screened off from the road by a bank of chestnut trees and looking out over salt marshes that echo to the song of sea birds. It was the perfect spot - private but at the same time just a ten-minute walk to the pretty little Georgian town of Lymington with its bustling marina and good selection of shops and restaurants.

The signature of the design is its simplicity. "I like to create timeless work and, as a result, I don't like style. Style is fashion, fashion is fickle and it all eventually moves on and leaves you stranded. I want to create something that endures," Pardey said.

One practical way of achieving this timelessness was to use hard-wearing materials such as the red cedar wood cladding used on the outer walls and the tough powder-coated aluminium used for the gutters, roofing and windows.

The uncluttered simplicity continues inside the house with floor-to-ceiling windows and an open-plan layout on the ground floor that effectively links the dining room, study, kitchen and living room areas into one vast L-shaped room that can be partitioned off by a series of sliding doors. "The idea was to make the space more flexible and adaptable to our changing needs," says Pardey. 'Most people have to compromise a great deal when they move into an existing house but we could do whatever we wanted. So we decided to create the largest possible open living space that could then be screened off for various different activities such as cooking, dining, playing or just sitting and relaxing."

The three bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs at the front of the house follow a more cellular layout but, again, maximum use is made of light and space by adding a screened roof terrace to the front.

The fixtures and fittings are likewise minimalist and functional: wooden oak floors on the ground level and lino upstairs; recessed lighting; electrically operated blinds; and solid granite work surfaces in the kitchen.

"We wanted lots of daylight in the winter and lots shade in the summer," says Pardey who tried to enhance the play of light by his choice of colour scheme - a rich palette of deep reds, greens and blues relieved by panels of beige, grey and terracotta. "We wanted colour but no decorations - uncluttered spaces without austerity. I like the dynamic, the combination that colours create. It's as if they join together and exaggerate the sense of space in the house." Nowhere is the use of colour more dramatic than in the two upstairs bathrooms where the glass mosaic tiling achieves an iridescent swimming-pool blue.

Craftsmanship is very much in evidence in the house, particularly in the carpentry and joinery skills Pardey picked up while apprenticed to his father. Attention to detail is also apparent in the choice of furniture - most of which is included in the asking price. Prize items include a magnificent Le Corbusier dining table, a selection of Helen Yardley rugs and a shiny 1926 Pither Studio coal stove - the centre-piece in the vast living room area.

Another key component of the house is its external courtyard. Pardey's interest in courtyards dates from his student days when he discovered the work of Jorn Utzon - the reclusive architect responsible for the Sydney Opera House who he was later to become friends with and write a book about.

To the back of the lawn and to the side of the house, meanwhile, he installed a small detached guest-room annexe. This house was built to be his own home when John Pardey was a struggling young architect in his mid-30s. Now, aged 49, with an additional child and head of a large and award-winning practice, he's decided it's time to move on.

Get the spec

What's for sale: Three-bed house with two bathrooms in secluded Hampshire location built around external courtyard. Serious kit: Mosaic-tiled bathrooms, hand-crafted cupboards, timber flooring and solid granite kitchen work surfaces.

How big? 212sqm gross internal area with large external courtyard and drive.

Extras: Including Le Corbusier dining room table and Pither Studio coal stove.

Buy it: Pardey House, Rigeway Lane, Lymington, is for sale through Modern House (01420 520805) for £775,000.