Nina Fisher, owner of this 3,700 sq ft eco house in Bromley, tells The Resident why an environmentally friendly home doesn’t have to compromising on luxury and comfort
When we bought this property in Chelsfield Park, it was a four-bedroom, two-storey house extended in the 1960s with various DIY ‘bolt on attachments’.
During our time here we had watched many of the older properties being redeveloped, so we liked the idea of creating a property that almost rebelled against the norm and embraced the eco: a modern, organic home that would be environmentally friendly and energy efficient with a view to bring the ‘outside in’, so we could not only be greener, but be closer to nature too.
For the exterior design, we took into account the natural surroundings, which is quite a wooded part of the land. The garden is huge and a complete surprise, which is why different levels were used in the design, in turn influencing the positioning of the windows, to maximise natural light throughout. Three flowering sedum roofs allow the building to merge into the garden and is an important factor for attracting wildlife, especially insects.
The property has triple glazing throughout with some very large windows. They produce a lot of heat, rather like a greenhouse. Highly reflective interior surfaces were used inside so light from strategically placed windows would bounce off and reflect images of the foliage outside directly onto the transparent glass balustrades and balconies, acting like giant mirrors. Even on a dingy day it has a highly effective passive solar gain.
Highly reflective interior surfaces were used inside so light from strategically placed windows would bounce off and reflect images of the foliage outside
The idea of using light and heat in an eco home is so exciting, which was why the kitchen work surface always had to meet the creative vision. The surface is a mix of quartz crystals and polyester resin, not unlike onyx, but it looks like stone and is made from sustainably sourced quartz.
Not only were the colour and surface detail amazing, but light could penetrate the surface and, when illuminated, give the effect of burning embers. There is also an amazing play of colour within the house with other lighting fixtures, as well as blue and purple shadows. It was about making light work as a heat source, using it to reflect, absorb and embrace the space it has to illuminate. It is very special inside and spectacular outside too.
People only tend to really ‘live’ in a couple of rooms. There are plenty of secluded spaces to slip away to should the need arise, but the spacious open-plan area works as the hub of the house. The other rooms are multi-functional spaces that did not need to be labelled.
The five bedrooms and four bathrooms overlook the sedum roofs, while the bath in the en suite is positioned directly in front of the window looking out down to the garden across the flowering roof, which feels like it’s a garden in the sky.
The house has a highly efficient heat energy recovery system that will circulate all heat that we don’t really think about, such as heat from the white goods in the house
The house has a highly efficient heat energy recovery system. In each room there are ventilation ducts with filters that feed the air in and out of the space, all leading to a heat exchanger. It will circulate all heat that we don’t really think about, such as heat from the white goods in the house.
It has humidity regulating properties that have positive effects on the atmospheric conditions of a room. It keeps the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter, without the need to open windows or keep your heating on.
Why did we go down the eco route? We have always felt environmentally responsible, and I am passionate about wildlife, nature and the outdoors. It was natural to us to want to create an eco-friendly living space.
Worlds End Lane, Chelsfield Park, Kent is for sale through Alan de Maid (01689 220 182) at a guide price of £1,495,000