The story of the Peach House is like that of every oak framed garden building, there’s more to it than you might think from looking at the finished structure.
This project combines traditional skills and sustainable materials with some fascinating design inspirations. It also brought together people who have influenced the trajectory of my career.
Oak framing with friends & royalty
HRH The Prince of Wales commissioned the Peach House during the extensive redesigning of the gardens on the Dumfries House Estate. He famously saved this historic house in 2007, and has gone on to lead the way in the transformation of the estate grounds into a fantastic destination, accessible to all.
I started my career in traditional timber framing on the Prince’s Foundation Building Craft Apprenticeship programme in 2011, returning as a tutor in subsequent years. The course of my career has been heavily directed and influenced by its ethos and The Prince of Wales’ vision.
Being offered free rein on the design and build is every craftsman’s dream, but designing and presenting for HRH The Prince of Wales brings its own pressures. Luckily, I had some moral support from my friend and colleague, Ben Collyns.
Ben is another craftsman keeping heritage skills alive, working as a master thatcher in Cornwall. We trained together in 2011 as Building Craft Apprentices, and each have a good understanding of the other’s trade.
Japanese and Scottish design influences
The Peach House is sited on a patch of land that had evidence of previous historic structures, but there was no clear precedent for its shape or form. The design combines a Scottish baronial style with Japanese Tea House influences.
The curved ogee roof is thatched using water reed from Norfolk’s wetlands. There aren’t any reed beds local to Dumfries House, but we chose to source thatch from a similarly wet environment to ensure longevity. It was all hand cut and tied and arrived on site in bundles ready for thatching.
We constructed the oak-framed structure from Duchy oak, which was then milled in Hereford.
The culmination of all the carefully thought through aspects of this project – from the design to the sourcing of materials, the traditional skills involved and the history of the site – make the Peach House quite unique, and the perfect fit within its surroundings.