Take a look through this Scandi new build in the Suffolk countryside
- Credit: Archant
The natural beauty of Suffolk’s open countryside beneath big skies make a wonderful setting for a Scandi new build on the site of a family farm. Words and images: Tony Hall
James and Jane Scott’s stylish new build is so tucked away, I never knew it existed – even though I live just one field away. Situated in rural Reydon, just five minutes drive from Southwold, the farm of 200 acres, has been in the family for three generations. Grandfather Sidney Scott bought it in 1949 and when he died in 1960 his son, Geoffrey, took it over and ran it until 2008.
In 1962 Geoffrey married Carin, a Swedish model and physiotherapist, while he was working for a London bank who opened a branch in Stockholm. Her first impression of the old Reydon farmhouse was just how cold it was. In 1973 the couple set about building a new house in the grounds, which incorporated lots of insulation and double glazing.
In ethos it was well ahead of its time. It was also fortuitous – that year saw the fuel crisis. Geoffrey may well be remembered by farmers in Norfolk and Suffolk. In 1959, he set up Farming Diary on Anglia Television and became its producer.
Fast forward to 2008. When their father died, James Scott and his sister, Filippa, inherited the farm. “In that home,” says James, “we had a large communal living/dining/kitchen, which was common in Swedish houses but was still rare here. When Jane and I decided to build our own home, here on the site of an old dairy, we had seen a feature while in Sweden on an architect, Jonas Bjerre¬Poulson, who had his practice, NORM, there.
“We much admired the projects he had already done, so we asked him to come up with ideas for our new home, The Pavilion Reydon Grove.”
Jane describes their wish list – straight lines, something James’ father liked, single storey, obviously clean lines, spacious, with a modest approach, tasteful in a modern way, maybe slightly understated.
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“We wanted lightness, simple Scandi design, a connection with the surrounding nature, as we are in such a wonderful location and setting, and the main focus on the kitchen/dining area, as we both love entertaining and cooking.”
Born and brought up near Belfast Jane trained to be a doctor. After an internship at St Bartholomew’s in London, she took an academic post in anatomy at Cambridge, where she was introduced to James, who was working in the area for Anglian Water as a research and development engineer. Growing up on the farm, James says he was always interested in the machinery and how it worked, and became quite good at repairs. He studied at Harper Adams Agricultural College in Shropshire and became an engineer.
But back to the house. The ethos of Jonas’ design is, in his own words, the three Rs – richness, restraint and refinement. With this building he envisaged a long, narrow pavilion style structure, from which it got its name, which would give it magnitude and scale, and would harmonise with the existing old farm building on the site.
As the building is set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, great respect was paid to the setting, emphasising the rural tranquility for perfect relaxation.
“As this area of Suffolk is the land of big skies, no hills and with such wonderful light, we wanted the orientation to maximise the eastern light, which is very special and accentuated, with the coast only two miles away,” says James. “So, lots of glass, to also take advantage of the totally unspoiled natural rural countryside views.
“On the interiors we liked good use of pale woods and a calm, simple flow between rooms. Detailing is another aspect very important to us, so you have no skirting boards, just a small gap between wall and floor. We have tall doors throughout, which add balance, and we paid attention to window detailing.
“We put the contract out to tender, but choose John Lytton a local builder. He had done work on the farm before and we admired his quality and professionalism. He was certainly tested to the maximum on this unusual build, but he has good people working with him and came through successfully.” They are, indeed, delighted with the finished result.
“Our favourite room is, without doubt, the kitchen/dining area,” says Jane. “It’s very much an entertaining/party area, with plenty of space, where people can spill out onto the terrace. The dining table, which Jonas gifted to us, is our favourite item.
“We’ve found a lot of our items from a favourite interiors shop in London called Skandium. Locally, I love Collen & Clare fashion in Southwold.
“We love going to Orford, taking our Feva sailing boat on the river, or just going for walks along the river wall. Our favourite restaurant is also there, the Crown and Castle.” When time permits, says James, the family loves to be outdoors.
“We enjoy walks here, around the farm, or cycle rides around Tunstall Forest, or a trip to The Eels Foot pub – great after a walk, with delicious food and great beer.
“Every day living here is special, with wonderful countryside and a location so close to the coast, but for us both spending our first Christmas here, with the kids, but with only a few sticks of furniture was so special.
“The Christmas tree lights, loads of candles, schnapps and of course Swedish meatballs and gravalax, a wonderful celebration and a total blast, in a part of the county so dear to our heart, that we love.”