1A Whichelo Place

I’ve kicked myself each year when I haven’t made it over to 1A Whichelo Place, the Hanover home of Jackie Strube and Alan Stone, during Eco Open Houses.

The triangular plot, which is surrounded on all sides by terraced housing, is thought to have been used as a builder’s yard until it was snapped up by Jackie and Alan at a Clive Emson auction at the Grand Hotel in 2005. It had planning permission in place already, but not for anything special. Simon Atkins, now of ABIR Architects, designed a new building for the site.

1A Whichelo Place is accessed via a generous driveway that has parking for at least two cars; a rarity in Hanover. The first hint of its eco credentials stems from a glimpse of the sedum roof to which visitors are treated as they descend the steps leading to the front courtyard. The next clue is the coppiced sweet chestnut cladding from Inwood Developments. I have visited that firm’s factory in Whitesmith near Lewes and remain a big fan.

From almost any angle, it is hard to appreciate the shape of the building. Only from above is it possible to really see what’s going on. A large lounge/kitchen is at an angle with respect to the rest of the structure. That room’s internal doors cleverly slide away into the walls to save space and preserve light. The skylights help here also. The exterior doors and windows feature double-glazed units in pine frames which are clad in aluminium.

There is lots of greenery around the house and behind is another courtyard garden with a rather cute three storey sparrow box and a ‘tangled’ area to attract wildlife. Whisky barrels act as butts for collecting rainwater from the roof.

My favourite feature is in fact the bright orange kitchen worktop which can be supplied by Resilica in Newhaven. It is made from recycled glass so is very much an eco feature as well as being incredibly striking. There is a polished concrete floor throughout which I particularly like, along with underfloor heating. The house is well insulated and there is a solar thermal panel on the roof so fuel bills are low. Gas, for example, is £12 per month which reminds me how much I would like to build my own eco house one day.

1A Whichelo Place is open on Sunday 11th September. See www.ecoopenhouses.org for details.

Photo by Richard Rowland