Maraleen, A simple modern house in open countryside, Margaret’s Marsh

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Project Description

A simple modest house built with subtle contemporary details and high specification.

This rural site is located in the small hamlet of Margaret’s Marsh at the heart of the Blackmore Vale in Dorset. The design of the replacement family house is vernacular in form but incorporates subtle contemporary details. It was designed to reflect a simple farm courtyard, suited to the surrounding rural open countryside.

Local vernacular materials are celebrated throughout.

The principal living areas and bedrooms are located on the south-west elevation with large areas of glazing. The utility and bathroom areas are located to the rear on the north-east elevation with minimal areas of fenestration. This layout captures the optimum natural heat gain to the main living areas and reduces the heat lost through north-facing glazing. From a design perspective, this also allows the best views to be maximised to the south-west and affords privacy to the occupants from the adjoining road.  A double garage is connected to the house by a covered timber car port and walkway which wraps around the house to the front entrance and utility – designed to reflect a cluster of farm buildings.

It was important to design this house with a careful consideration of the end performance and energy consumption so several renewable technologies are integral to the house, these include:


  1. Photovoltaic panels have been retained from the original bungalow roof and reinstalled on site.
  2. A new air source heat pump
  3. A whole house mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system

The project was delivered within a modest budget but to a high specification. The quality of local materials and workmanship skills are testament to the overall finished design. In particular, the stone was supplied by a local stone quarry in Marnhull and was used as an exemplary project by the quarry to showcase their material and quality of workmanship.