Innovative Highgate garden room beds into Mother Nature

Exterior view of Highgate Garden Room

Exterior view of Highgate Garden Room - Credit: Archant

Combining the organic nature of Queens Park with the luxury of a contemporary garden room, a new design in Highgate has transformed a disused garden area into a relaxing, sustainable leisure space.

Interior view of Highgate Garden Room

Interior view of Highgate Garden Room - Credit: Archant

Nestled amid a backdrop of lush green trees, the 400ft2 single storey structure houses a sitting room, gym, sauna, shower and relaxation area all wrapped around a central external hot tub.

Sauna room of Highgate Garden Room

Sauna room of Highgate Garden Room - Credit: Archant

Following a refurbishment of their five bedroom home in 2011, the property’s owners re-commissioned architectural company Folio design to design the innovative garden home.

Lester Bennett, head of Folio Design, says: “It was a very important consideration that whatever we used it wasn’t going to be something that was going to have a very urban impact on the view from the house.

“With so much building happening everywhere, we’re in so much danger of losing green spaces and I think that to build something like this and still retain as much of a natural habitat for insects, birds and so forth is an important feature as much as creating something for the clients to enjoy.”

To successfully meld the structure into its surroundings, Folio Design worked closely with Green Square garden design and Nature’s Balance landscape designers, sinking the house into the garden so that it appears to rise up from underneath the tree-line.

In this way, the beautiful woodland view from the main house is maintained and the sweeping lawn is seamlessly connected to the garden house via the planted, green ‘eco roof’.

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Natural limestone flooring, under-floor heating and cast glass were used to create a warm, welcoming spa feel throughout. Muted organic colours bring cohesion with the outside space and a continuous stargazing roof across the breadth of the house adds playful light and panoramic views at night.

“You can be a little more impractical in some respects when you’re designing something that has a ‘fun’ function, rather than set areas like a dining space or a kitchen which require a specific flow,” Bennett adds.

“The stargazing roof for example – we thought it would be great to get a bit of light and get light into the back of the structure.

“Because we live in England, we have darkness from three in the afternoon till to six o’clock in the morning most of the year, so it’s great to have a room where, when you’re down there, you can switch off the lights and look up at the sky and see the stars.”

Full height sliding folding doors have been used to open up the seating areas to create a truly integrated garden ‘living room’, and impressive area for entertaining in the warmer months. Externally, the surrounding copse has been referenced with green oak cladding and cedar shingle roofing. This joins both a rill and a natural pond, sympathetically built into the landscaped garden.

“Having a happy client at the end of the day is important, feeling they’ve got the attention and it’s their needs been catered for. It can be harder when you’re more client focused rather than having a signature style, because you’re coming up with different things all the time.

“One time we’re designing something for a modernist interior, the next minute I’m doing something for a modernist interior and the next something art noveau or more classical.

“It makes it very exciting for us however and it does mean that a lot of what we come up with is a prototype; this is for instance a one off.”

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