Smith Young Architects embraces "imperfection" at Vestige house in Cheshire

Liverpool studio Smith Young Architects has completed Vestige, a house in northwest England with a brick base built from the remnants of a previous structure on the site.

Named Vestige, the home overlooks a park in Cheshire and replaces an existing dwelling on the site, which the client had hoped to extend but couldn’t due to its poor condition.

To pay homage to the original building, Smith Young Architects recreated its ground floor layout and reused its old brickwork, augmenting it with an upper floor housed in contrasting timber-clad volumes.

Exterior view of brick home by Smith Young ArchitectsExterior view of brick home by Smith Young Architects
Smith Young Architects has created the Vestige house in Cheshire

“Initially conceived as a retro-first adaptation, detailed analysis of the project highlighted the burden of the outdated taxation system in the UK,” explained Smith Young Architects.

“The resultant new detached family home questions if it is possible to construct a sustainable replacement dwelling in an established suburban setting, whilst retaining a strong relationship between its context,” it added.

Vestige’s ground floor spaces are an adaptation of the grid-like floor plan of the previous building and have been formed by retaining or reusing its old brick walls.

Brick and timber house in CheshireBrick and timber house in Cheshire
It replaces an old house on the site that was in poor condition

At the front of the home, a section of wall extends outwards to separate the living room from a double-height entrance hall and outdoor parking area.

Once inside, the floor level steps down towards the rear of the home, where a dining room and kitchen overlook a garden through full-height sliding glass doors.

Kitchen interior at Vestige home in CheshireKitchen interior at Vestige home in Cheshire
Brickwork from the original home has been reused in some areas

“The double-height entrance hall, occupies the position where the staircase once stood, and the area that previously housed the kitchen to the property has been repurposed to accommodate the new staircase,” founder Michael Young told Dezeen.

“The implementation of the split-level arrangement at ground floor level provided us with opportunities to alter the volume of the internal spaces, transitioning from compression to release as you transition through the building,” he added.

Above the brick base, Vestige’s first floor comprises a cluster of four timber-clad cuboid volumes with sloping roofs. The main ensuite bedroom and three smaller bedrooms are held inside, organised around a landing that overlooks the entrance hall below.

The original brickwork is finished in lime render both internally and externally, creating a tactile feel on the ground floor that is contrasted by the plain white walls and pale woodwork of the new spaces.

Dining space within brick home by Smith Young ArchitectsDining space within brick home by Smith Young Architects
The ground floor plan of the previous house has been recreated

“Both ourselves and the client shared the conviction that the building should reflect the narratives of the individuals who physically shaped it.,” Young told Dezeen.

“Our aspiration was for the building to embody a sense of flawless imperfection,” he added.

“Whilst the palette is restrained and the finishes might seem minimal, the qualitative impact of the imperfect surface textures focus your attention on the tactility and the way their irregularities catch the light, perpetually evolving with the shifting seasons.”

Stairs leading up to first floor at residence by Smith Young ArchitectsStairs leading up to first floor at residence by Smith Young Architects
Wooden finishes complement the tactile brickwork

Smith Young Architects was founded by Young and Daniel Smith in 2016.

Other homes recently completed in the UK include a pale brick villa overlooking Richmond Park in London by Fletcher Crane Architects and

The photography is by Daniel Hopkinson and Hali Mason.

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