A barnstorming success

STEPHEN PULLINGER To Alan Rogers it is quite simply his home from home, a place with panoramic Broads views that he loves to retreat to from his busy life in London.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

To Alan Rogers it is quite simply his home from home, a place with panoramic Broads views that he loves to retreat to from his busy life in London.

But Holly Farm Barn in Reedham, near Yarmouth, acquired a grand new status last night as the best designed house in Britain.

The larch-clad home, designed by London-based Knox Bhavan Architects, has clinched the

Manser Medal, awarded annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) for the best one-off house designed by an architect in Britain.

Holly Farm Barn had been put in the running for the supreme accolade by winning a Riba design award earlier in the summer.

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Wheelchair user Mr Rogers, 67, had been living in the village with his wife Jenny for 10 years but found their cottage increasingly difficult because of his arthritis.

Searching for a plot for a new home, they fell in love with a site housing

a 200-year-old barn thought to be

one of the oldest buildings in the village.

The concept for Holly Farm Barn was the fruit of discussions between management consultant Mr Rogers and architect Mary Lou Arscott, who had designed the couple's London flat.

Mr Rogers said: “We wanted it to be barn-like because it was replacing this very old barn that unfortunately was falling down and could not be saved.

“We also wanted it to reflect the boating heritage of the area and the upturned roof and use of wood give it the feel of a boat.”

The couple's final design wish was for lots of space and glass to capitalise on stunning views across the River Yare towards Lowestoft in one direction and across Breydon Water to Yarmouth in the other.

Architect Simon Knox, who designed the home with Ms Arscott, said they had striven to make it blend in with the surrounding scenery.

He said: “The aim was to make it part of the horizontal landscape so we designed it upside-down with the sitting room and kitchen on the first floor so they have panoramic views across the countryside. Then there are four bedrooms and a playroom on the ground floor.”

All areas of the house have been designed with a wheelchair in mind and a lift connects the ground and first floor.

The house, finished in December last year, took a year to build at a cost of £500,000.

The judges for the Manser Medal, sponsored by the Architects' Journal, described Holly Barn as a “mature and carefully thought-through home for a wheelchair-bound client that has transformed his living experience to one of daily joy”.

Mr Rogers, who works from his Reedham home as much as possible, said he was thrilled by the recognition - a bonus is that it has significantly elevated the value of the house.

Holly Barn Farm is still in the running for two further accolades, a Civic Trust Award and a Wood Award.