Driving Design Into Luxury Housing Developments

Issue 51

He may drive in the fastlane but Northumberland architect Ollie Currie takes his time on bespoke property projects particularly his flagship passion, Coach House, a luxury development near Hexham.

Why is Coach House such an important development for you?

It’s become personal. Having found the site at the start of 2017, nurtured through the planning process, designed bespoke house types to suit the site and its constraints, and now being involved in interior design services for clients, it’s more than a standard project. This isn’t the biggest scheme I’ve undertaken at 33 Architecture, but its luxury scale and location make this a flagship for me and the practice. I’m Hexham born and bred so to get involved in such a luxury scheme on my home patch on the outskirts of town, is a real pleasure. I am determined to make this a real stand-out development.

What makes Coach House so special?

It’s a fabulous location – scenically and practically. It’s got a lovely woodland backdrop and is perfect for families who want a semi-rural setting while being within easy access of schools and all the amenities of a popular market town. From a design perspective, the homes are built with traditional materials while also incorporating many contemporary features within the home and externally. It’s a very bespoke development.

How does it differ to other local developments?

The scheme is small and compact. There are eight detached four and five-bedroom homes, in a countryside setting. The materials we’ve chosen to build with are a much higher quality and spec than anything nearby. There are four house types combining traditional materials like stone, brick and slate with more modern design features incorporating zinc, a high amount of glass and timber composite cladding. Our external design features are creating a varied and bespoke streetscape. This is not another template-driven scheme that a volume house-builder might knock out – it’s highly bespoke and contextual to the surroundings.

What else is 33 Architecture doing?

We’re a busy little practice. Having set up the firm in 2015, after leaving the larger practice of Alston Murphy Associates, I’ve grown steadily year-onyear. We’ve always focussed on designing highquality, bespoke properties – both residential and commercial. Many of these have-been one-offs but more recently we’ve started working with developers on some interesting larger residential projects. The firm, which now includes my wife Rachel and technician Otis, recently completed a 14-home development for Gatsby Homes at Bedlington and we hope to handle more projects around that scale.

What have been your biggest challenges?

Coach House has been the most challenging project but also the most rewarding. It’s been a long process in the planning, from finding the site to gaining permissions and to today, almost completing the build and development. A show home is due to open shortly.

Your most memorable moments to date and proudest achievements?

Setting up the new business and then designing my own office and opening that in Corbridge at the start of this year. Coach House has also been another professional milestone – particularly securing planning permission after 12 months.

More personal ones must be linked to my love for motorsport. Building our rally car from scratch was a big achievement. I think the pain, blood and sweat that went into that made me forget about it! We bought it as a shell in October 2012 and competed our first stage rally in March 2014. I was also proud to have been chairman of the Wickham Motor Club, which I stood down from earlier this year.

How do you relax?

With my wife Rachel and our children (soon to be three). Motorsport remains a big passion, although finding time is getting harder. And there’s tennis in the summer months.

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