Within the latest season of Grand Designs, Kevin McCloud and the team have documented some of the most beautiful, albeit challenging home projects carried out throughout the pandemic, one of these being the project of Daniel and Nina Rowland, the co-owners of Studio Fuse, who chose Lusso products for use in their new family home. The Channel 4 TV show documented the extraordinary project which many viewers have coined as one of the best episodes of all time.
Dan and Nina purchased a dilapidated 1930s home on a 1.5 acre plot, the land however had one major problem – a large and awkwardly placed stagnant pond. The couple then went on to design a brand new sustainable home that would elegantly float over a natural swimming pond in replacement of the swamp-like feature. The final result is breathtaking. Activists for combining architecture, nature and interiors, Dan and Nina’s Chichester property has proven to be the perfect example of everything they stand for – a place in which architecture and ecology truly connect with each other.
“When water and architecture are introduced, they dance. The water takes sunlight and offers it shimmeringly to the building with scintillating, sparkling patterns. It’s a thing to behold.” – Kevin McCloud
We couldn’t resist finding out more on this astonishing project and hearing it first hand from Nina all about their project and why they chose Lusso Stone…
Can you give us some background on the project for anyone that may not have seen the show?
The main home is formed of two parts: a two storey component that anchors into the ground with a flint plinth, whilst its smaller single storey sister hovers over the beautiful swimming pond. These two parts of the building are connected via a glass link which floats over water, further detaching the single storey part of the building and accentuating its uniquely intimate relationship with the site’s waterscape and nature. At the heart of the main part of the house is a dramatic triple height space over the dining area with floating balconies on the first and second floors which take advantage of the views created by the double height glazing. This space also assists with solar gains and passive ventilation. To complement the building, and to further anchor the home into its environment, a carefully considered landscaping scheme was designed to ensure the ecology of the site would thrive, encouraging an abundance of wildlife.
Where did you draw inspiration from when designing your home?
Before we had kids, Dan and I spent lots of time travelling the world. We loved the beautiful surfing beaches in California and Australia; we fell in love with the lush rainforests and ramshackle beach cafes in Thailand. We had been on many holistic yoga retreats in various countries set in beautifully natural contexts and forest spas set in tropical landscapes with boulder waterfalls and plunge pools set within them.
All of these experiences influenced our decisions when creating a home, as by then we knew what was important to us: to have a nourishing oasis that enabled us to swim in natural water, surrounded by wildlife and a beautiful landscape. This ethos needed to link into the architecture, the interiors and even into the furniture and lighting we made. So we integrated a natural relaxed palette, contrasting with some sharp contemporary details, which nourished our design taste.
The natural swimming pond is a perfect blend of serenity and nature, was this always a part of the plan or did you initially want to get rid of it before turning it into the natural swimming pond?
We momentarily contemplated floating our house over the existing pond, but quickly dismissed the idea, because its water often stagnated and went very green from the algal blooms during certain periods of the year. After all, who wants to look over water that closely resembles pea soup! Due to the stagnation and the resulting toxicity levels in the water, we would never be able to swim in it either, which would be such a shame. We are totally over the moon that we instead converted it into the natural swimming pond, as it has become a key and integral part of the design of the entire scheme. It is something we enjoy literally every day, by simply gazing out at it from any area of the house, or by swimming in it each morning. It’s the best way to start the day!
What was it that attracted you to Lusso Stone products and which product is your favourite?
I found Lusso Stone products online and adored the sharp unfussy contemporary lines of the pieces. I loved the fact that they are used in luxury boutique hotels but are still very affordable. The composite stone has the most stunning matte white finish and the ergonomics of the designs are so well thought through. We bought the baths in lockdown at a point when people were unable to visit any showrooms or shops and we were utterly delighted when we received them and discovered they were literally the comfiest baths we had ever tried… they completely envelope you and we can fit our entire family of four in one bath!
I needed to create bespoke versions of some of Lusso’s basins, so that they would fit into our spaces perfectly. I was happily surprised to discover that they were able to adapt any designs to what I wanted – and at what seemed like no extra cost.
How was your experience dealing with deliveries and customer service from Lusso Stone?
Our contact at Lusso was incredibly helpful and efficient. Nothing was a problem for him and he remained positive and upbeat throughout the whole process. If there were any minor delays due to Covid, I was regularly updated. I would highly recommend Lusso as a company, and have done so to many already!
How would you describe the finished project? And was it everything you expected it to be?
After spending many gruelling years living in the dilapidated house that came with the plot, the contrast now that we have moved into the new house couldn’t be more extreme. This house and the context it is set in feels healthy, holistic and incredibly rejuvenating. We are immensely grateful to be able to live here every day and witness the beautifully symbiotic relationship between architecture, nature and the environment.
If you want to create your own patch of paradise, no matter how big or small, you can contact Nina and Dan as their practice that integrates architecture and interiors with nature: www.studiofuse.co.uk and also check them out on Instagram @_studiofuse.
View the beautiful project for yourself and watch the episode here: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/grand-designs (Chichester, West Sussex)