With vast expanses of glass, this unique home really is light fantastic

When two architects build their own home, you know it's going to be a showstopper

Sliding doors in hallway looking out onto garden and swimming pool
(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

We love finding a unique contemporary home, and this architecturally designed property hits the mark. With vast expanses of glass and sliding doors on all sides, the light and views of the surrounding Buckinghamshire countryside take centre stage.

The four bedroom detached building certainly started life off quite differently. Like many professional architects, Spencer and Emma Guy had ambitions to build their own home.

‘A plot in Buckinghamshire that ticked all our boxes came up, so we went for it,' recalls Spencer. 'And then everything fell into place quite quickly.’

The plot was part of a large agricultural complex overlooking the Chiltern Hills. It was a mass of nettles and brambles, with a derelict barn on site, but planning permission for a five-bedroom house was in place. ‘That design wasn’t to our taste, but we felt confident that we could change things and build the house we wanted,’ says Spencer.

The exterior

Exterior of modern wood and glass home with swimming pool

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

They visualised a pared-back, contemporary home, appropriately constructed using the local red bricks and black-stained timber exterior cladding typical of the nearby agricultural buildings. 

The house would include expanses of glass on all sides, connecting it to the outdoors and creating different vistas around the interior. ‘We were keen on an open-plan layout, but with the flexibility to close off rooms to make it more cosy in winter,’ says Spencer.

The layout

Double height entrance hall with offices and mezzanine

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

The house consists of two oblong structures, with one sitting at an angle to the other, as if a wedge had been pushed between them. In the centre, the double-height entrance hallway ideas set the tone, with a back wall of glass that overlooks the garden, swimming pond and greenery beyond.

Vertical lines and utilitarian finishes including brickwork, white-washed spruce, oak and concrete are repeated throughout, linking the separate zones. ‘The design itself is pretty straightforward, as we didn’t have an unlimited budget,’ says Spencer.

‘We like a Scandinavian, mid-century feel, but most of the interior interest comes from the architecture itself, rather than decoration. We did want it to feel homely though, so we’ve got a lot of artwork, some inherited furniture and personal things around.’

The hallway

Sliding doors in hallway looking out onto garden and swimming pool

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Vertical structures emphasise the height here. The hall is open to a small chill-out spot, perfect for taking in views of the garden ideas. ‘We wanted the interior to feel like a series of terraces,’ says Spencer.

A mix of brick, glass and timbers creates the wow factor. ‘The interest in our house comes from the architecture itself rather than the decoration.'

The sitting room

Living room with low storage and picture window

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

The large sitting room shows off the unusual low and long picture window was a clever design decision.

The kitchen

White galley kitchen with exposed brick wall and wooden ceiling

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

A family-friendly kitchen-diner is on the other side of the hallway to the sitting room. Off-the-shelf units have been customised with quality surfaces.

The dining area

Open plan living and dining area with sliding doors

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

In here, and throughout the house, the wood panels on the ceiling bring a beautiful warmth to the open, light-filled rooms.

The main bedroom

Master bedroom with chaise longue and balcony

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Up simple wooden stairs leads to the four bedrooms. In the master you can see the beautiful covered balcony can be used all year round.

The en suite

En suite bathroom with oversized mirror above sink

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Even the bathroom ideas make the most of the light. Bespoke angular mirrored cabinets boost light and style here.

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