There are two types of new-build home. The first is shiny and soulless, with low ceilings and skimpy joinery. Firmly in the other camp are considered places such as this five-bedroom property in Hertfordshire, which manages to pull off that tricky balancing act of being both up to date and timeless in its appeal.
Bepoke carved Bath stone staircase
Axtell Perry Symm
Built on a site formerly occupied by a 1950s cottage, and working with interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch, the owners shunned architectual salvage and traditional fabrics in favour of top-notch new materials. But it is their exhaustive attention to detail that really holds the design together. Symmetrical coffee tables in the sitting room, for example, create an elegant, formal feel.
Rivoli six-arm chandelier
Richard Taylor Designs
Starting from scratch allowed the couple to plan their layout meticulously and ensure that not an inch of space was wasted. From the double-height hall, you step into an enfilade of rooms: sitting room flows into the dining room which flows into the kitchen, each glimpsed, tantalisingly, through large, double-door openings.
La Marina hanging lamps
Eichholtz at Sweetpea & Willow
This is a house where everything and everyone has a place. He can retreat to his oak-stained study, complete with stained oak cabinetry and bespoke desk to conceal tech and workfiles...
... while in the sitting room opposite, the lady of the house can relax and read, free from computers and television and surrounded by luxurious pink velvet, a silver mirrored table and her favourite ornaments and photographs.
Ruhlman wine tables
At the back of the kitchen is a pristine boot room, with ample storage and a built-in banquette to make it easy to put on and take off boots.
Interior design, bespoke console and joinery
The original plan was to build a two-storey house with an attic floor, but that would have restricted the ceiling heights on all the floors, so the owners instead decided to keep the first-floor ceilings open to the roof. This in turn meant they could make the ground floor ceilings higher. An extra level was created in the basement, featuring a gym, a pool and a games room.
Farrow & Ball
The ground floor's mix of comfort and refined beauty also pervades the rooms upstairs. Designed to be restful and practical, the main bedroom features a free-standing wall that doubles as a headboard, while also incorporating storage and lighting.
Preston swing-wall arm lights
In one corner of the main bedroom, a pair of tall wingback chairs creates an inviting reading corner overlooking the garden.
Sweetpea & Willow
The adjoining bathroom is sleek with Art Deco elegance, from the rolltop bath to the porcelain-clad walls framed by strips of muted green glass for definition.
Victoria + Albert
Guests, meanwhile, are treated to their own oases of calm, with four-poster beds, deep, soft carpets, whitewashed beams and luxurious bedlinen and fabrics.
The Dormy House
Image credits: David Cleveland