Reviving Follyfield: A Harmonious Fusion of Traditional and Contemporary Design

Studio McW, a London-based architectural firm, masterfully completes the first phase of Follyfield's multi-stage renovation, transforming an 18th-century stone residence in Cambridgeshire into a stunning blend of classic and modern aesthetics that redefine the concept of connected living spaces.

London-based architectural firm Studio McW has gracefully concluded the initial phase of the multi-stage restoration of Follyfield, an expansive 18th-century stone dwelling nestled in the Cambridgeshire countryside. The first stage of Follyfield's renaissance introduces three gabled additions of varying dimensions, artfully corresponding to the proportions of the original structure and harmoniously fusing contemporary design with the rural vernacular of the hamlet. The most substantial extension, constructed from clay bricks, complements the existing stone edifice and adjoins the main house via a zinc-clad gabled kitchen and living area. The third augmentation consists of a garage built from reclaimed stone and pale timber.

Photo: Lorenzo Zandri
Photo: Lorenzo Zandri
Photo: Lorenzo Zandri

Follyfield's generous layout encompasses five bedrooms, four en suite bathrooms, a family bathroom, a living room, two utility rooms, a playroom, a kitchen with a snug area, a reception room, a boot room, and a double garage. To streamline the extensive space, Studio McW concentrated the core of the home within a new 30-square-meter addition. The open-concept kitchen, living, and dining area boast a large, in-situ-cast concrete kitchen island, contrasted by black cabinetry, herringbone oak parquet flooring, and an exposed rafter vaulted ceiling. Full-height matte black timber doors discreetly conceal a utility room and a staircase leading to a new guest suite situated above the extension.

Photo: Lorenzo Zandri

The garage addition also houses a self-contained guest suite featuring a kitchen and bathroom, providing a private sanctuary for visitors, separate from the main residence. Connectivity is a central theme in Follyfield's architectural conception. The extension reconfigures the house's floor plan into an L-shape, enhancing the spatial flow and connection to the garden. Studio McW has also refined the entry sequence, preserving the original foyer as the formal front entrance, while introducing a new side door and boot room for convenient day-to-day access from the garage and driveway.

The updated floor plan also fosters a closer relationship with the sprawling gardens, masterfully designed by Claire Greener Landscapes. Although spacious, Follyfield initially seemed stranded within the vast property, which primarily comprised perimeter border planting and an expanse of lawns. Collaborating with Claire Greener, Studio McW has reimagined the intimacy of a London terrace garden, introducing a new brick patio and water feature, flanked by an outdoor entertainment space seamlessly connected to the kitchen via large sliding glass doors.

Photo: Lorenzo Zandri

Panoramic views of the grounds cater to the family's desire for space, while the new extension and gardens infuse the property with vitality and dynamism. Follyfield exemplifies Studio McW's deft handling of natural materials, employing slim-format clay bricks in a muted sandstone hue to subtly blend with the existing masonry. The architects devised flush thresholds with chamfered wall details to guide sightlines and impart a minimalist, unexpected charm to the facade of the new wing. Within, the interiors were masterminded by Rebecca Wakefield of Studio Fortnum, who closely collaborated with Studio McW to strike a balance between the clients' architectural and decorative aspirations.

The upcoming phase of Follyfield's evolution will see Studio McW reorganizing the main house's second story, incorporating two children's bedrooms. An additional extension will be constructed on the western elevation, accommodating an expanded main bedroom suite on the first floor and a formal dining area on the ground level for entertaining large gatherings. This second phase is set to conclude in 2023.

Photo: Lorenzo Zandri

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Marking Studio McW's inaugural regional endeavor, Follyfield showcases the young firm's versatility and adeptness in executing projects that span traditional and modern architectural styles on a grand scale. Follyfield epitomizes Studio McW's signature approach to creating homes that elevate their clients'

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