■ Architect Lincoln Miles shows us around the stunning Isle of Wight project that became a Grand Designs favourite
WHEN designer Lincoln Miles first saw this exquisite landscape, surrounded by ancient woodland on the Isle of Wight, there was only a simple 1970s bungalow on the site.
But in 2010, he had a vision: he could build around that humble dwelling, extend it, and add a tree-top tower. Doing so transformed it into an award-winning, five-bedroom, three-bathroom home that featured on Grand Designs and became one of presenter Kevin McCloud’s all-time favourite builds.
Lincoln (pictured above) and his artist wife Lisa Traxler — whose stunning enamel artwork features on a large exterior back panel of the house — sold the 3,250sq ft property in 2014 to move on and redevelop a stunning site containing a WWII bunker, also on the island. The buyers became their friends and Lincoln is now building a new home for them nearby.
But Tane, as it is called, still stands resplendent in its leafy forest grounds, with an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the end of a ‘no through road’ and is now for sale again.
It is an extraordinary home, with burnt larch cladding, roof gardens and extensive American black walnut joinery throughout. There’s a moat-like approach (inset) to the solid front door and, once inside, visitors are greeted with a virtual corridor of glass-topped roof.
The house is cleverly designed to feature two wings, with the kitchen and living room (both open to an outdoor decked patio, by virtue of enormous sliding glazed glass panels) at the centre of the home. There is underfloor heating throughout.
Turn left after entering and you’re in the original bungalow, with its oak floors, bathroom, bedrooms, utility room and what was designed as an insulated garage — currently used as a snug second sitting room, with its large screen TV hidden behind discreet panels. There’s a kitchenette here, too, which makes this ‘wing’ perfect for multi-generational living.
The original living room in this section of the house has been turned into a winter sitting room, lined with larch cladding with a stone fireplace.
At the end of the corridor a fabulous bathroom, with lofty green-tinted glass doors and a skylight, functions as the master bedroom’s en-suite.
If you instead walk straight ahead from the entrance — on the reclaimed pitch pine floor, rescued from an old-school gym then painstakingly cleaned and restored — you’re led down towards the spacious kitchen and living room.
Here one wall, containing a Charnwood wood-burning stove, is clad in muted, mole grey swimming pool tiles, while the other, painted in a rich, deep grey, has an aperture which looks through to the kitchen.
There’s under-stair storage, but also a hidden treasure — a ‘secret’ door, which sits seamlessly within the cedar wood cladding and leads to the second wing in the two-storey tower.
Here, on the first floor, a bathroom in grey tiles, with black glass, has a sunken bath that looks out over the first-floor roof terrace. Next door, a bedroom with huge windows on three sides connects with the canopy of the forest.
The stairs (in solid walnut) up to the top floor are narrower — designed by Lincoln to mimic climbing the stairs of a turret. At the top is another master bedroom with views into the forest, and a large, splendid roof terrace.
Throughout the property there are quirky features such as red doors, and raw wooden cladding, giving extra personality to a home that feels as if it grew out of the leafy home in which it now lives.
‘The greatest challenge was to work around the existing bungalow and redevelop it in a way that fitted its setting in the ancient woodland,’ Lincoln says. ‘The greatest sense of achievement is that we succeeded. We did nurture the idea of the woodland with its vertical trees, and reflected that in the design. But there’s also an arts and crafts element brought together by Lisa.
‘We loved living here — and missed it hugely when we first sold it. But it’s exciting to me that it’s still such a flexible and beautiful family home.’
What you get for your money
■ 3,250sq ft five-bedroom, three-bathroom designer home which fits seamlessly into the neighbouring ancient woodland
■ A bespoke kitchen with a walnut work surface, Nolte units, Miele induction hob, steam oven, fan oven and American-style fridge freezer with ice dispenser
■ Underfloor heating throughout
■ A designer home which is wrapped in ancient forest but is a short walk from the beach and the tranquillity of Quarr Abbey
■ Within two miles of high-speed ferry links from Ryde to Portsmouth
■ Flexible living — with two wings you could happily accommodate older relatives, or teenagers wanting their own space
■ Contemporary living in an environment designed to be in harmony with nature
■ On the market for £995,000 with spencewillard.co.uk
Jo Knowsley stayed with vintagevacations.co.uk