Victorian Porch, front garden design and bespoke iron railings in Oxford

Part of a series of Porches we have carried out this season.

The Porch is part of a larger body of work at the property that consisted of a complete revamp of the front garden bay window area alongside an overhaul of the driveway and its multiple levels. It is also the completion of the full renovation at the premises, including the basement extension

A planting scheme was also initiated that complemented the nature of the local environment.

In the summer of 2012 planning permission was granted and the project started in December later that year. We begun by excavating the whole of the front bay area to the start of the driveway.
A substantial retaining wall and series of tiered planters were created to reflect the shape of the bay rising in 450mm stages to allow one to jump down but not create an actual stepped area. The planting in this area was based on woodland plants that could cope with the shaded conditions and that perhaps would not require the same level of attention as other plants. It is a natural spectacle for the occupier of the house at lower ground level,  a backdrop and bit of theatre - the tiers just recede enough to allow some of the sky light  through and retain a sense of openness. From the driveway it is not at all obvious that the area exists at all aside from the verbena and the heads of a large variety of lavender ascending. This forms a visual soft stop for cars entering the drive.

The driveway itself was reconfigured from a solid concrete platform to a paved option using hand made chestnut clay pavers that allowed ground water to permeate. The design incorporates curves that gently handle what otherwise would have been an austere frontage due to the imposing scale of the architecture and the volume of red brick. This design makes the space softer , approachable and more palatable. The start of the pathway to the Porch and the end of the handrail form one start point for the curve which arcs towards the Quince tree in the top bed (see illustration). The curved flow is counterstruck in the space left over from the arc by opposing the direction creating a greater sense of an organic system. The pattern is echoed in the curvy iron railings that were commissioned and made to our design. Restoring iron railings is a key project in the North Oxford Conservation Area, and we felt these were an elegant contemporary take on a classic victorian railing. Aside from the practical nature, they carry the sense of undulating movement from the floor to the vertical and give a restrained, elegant graphic show with the red brick wall as a backdrop. This again adds a needed quality in direct contrast to the red brickwork.

The curves as mentioned lead you to the Porched area - the previous Porch was dissassembled and a new large, insulated and enclosed Porch was built. The whole of the facade was kept and reused with a front and rear door designed by ourselves. The front door is placed just behind the arched facade. This gives the impression from a distance, that the door is arched also. The interior has a beautiful spanish encaustic cement patterned floor which brings a happy surprise to the entrance area.

The interior was kept simple. Vertical pine boards and the light created by the conservation velux alongside the silver pendent add a touch of Scandi elegance to the show. The Oak hall furniture is designed and made by Rogue-Designs in our workshop, and was made to fit the the right hand wall as you enter. The shoe rack is a double construction with adults shoes above and children's below.