Gruff Architects and Anthro Architecture

Nestled halfway down a hill of charming suburban houses in the coastal setting of Chalkwell, in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, a nondescript dormer bungalow has undergone a complete transformation. Utilising the slope of the site a dramatic split-level family home has been created with three storeys at the rear opening out onto the garden.

The distinctive pitched roof form of the rear facade is conceived as a perforated timber-finned screen that allows for the creation of a hidden upper-level terrace looking out towards the sea in the distance. The opportunity presented itself to use the natural level changes of the site to orientate the upper floors towards the views of the Thames Estuary and the sea beyond. This concept of the split-level design unlocks the potential of the house by fully utilising the volume of the existing building form within the planning constraints of the site. This also created the opportunity for a side terrace at the upper ground floor, connecting directly with the rear family room and also allowing for expansive views of the sea from the top floor master bedroom. The terrace is wrapped in a timber batten screen which modulates into deeper, carefully spaced, timber fins increasing levels of privacy to the neighbours’ garden while also allowing for generous south-facing views of the sea.