Small House of the Year

Island Rest by Ström Architects

Island Rest is a contemporary family holiday home on the Isle of Wight, sitting on a creek with views of The Solent. The clients were keen to focus on the extensive views and access to the water. Spending time together, either out on the water, or inside the house, was of paramount importance, so the design had to prioritise these functions of the house.

Simple, small children’s bedrooms and more welcoming social spaces mean that emphasis is placed on the communal areas, fostering time spent together as a family. At approximately 180 sq m, the design uses space efficiently to house five bedrooms, whilst maintaining generous but comfortable living areas.

With its low profile and black timber cladding, the house disappears against the background of trees when viewed from the creek. With a sloping site and very high flood levels, the simple single storey rectilinear form is lifted off the ground on a plinth at one end, and slender steel columns where the ground slopes away. The black cladding gives way to rich tones of oak on soffits, ceilings, balcony reveals and internal walls, giving a more welcoming and homely feel to the accommodation within.

The house was delivered in a very short period of time, planning was granted in August 2018, and stood ready on site in September 2019. The rigourous technical design enabled a quick and smooth build, without programme or cost overruns, and all built to an  exceptional quality.

Judges’ comments

“Amazing, so simple, refined, elegant, light on the ground, sits comfortably.  Love it.”  

“Beautiful minimalist clean design.”

“The design is so simplistic, yet very effective. Ironically having so much space to design, vs monument cottage, is more of a challenge as they had so many more options available to them. Interior is very well done, good separation of bedrooms and living space. Fantastic use of light. A worthy winner.”

“A perfect project. Wonderful simplicity. Great layout maximising views. Beautifully detailed.”

“Careful orientation thinking of morning and afternoon light, Simple layout and simple design, no fuss and looks good, landscaping plays a big part, delightfully light.”

“Beautiful and simple design, well executed. Makes the most of the setting with views and connectivity to external spaces, providing for all day use. Layout is considered and spacious.”