Design Ground Rules

Where do we even start? Let us define a few ground rules first…

  • Money is no object (this is a fantasy design project after all)
    • But we do not want to be seen to be deliberately wasteful or inefficient
  • Physics exists
    • So no floating rocks held up only by waterfalls
  • Building and fire regulations exists
    • As well as we can figure them out the house should actually conform to code and actually be buildable
  • Location is “somewhere in England”
    • Hence it rains, is cold in the winter and orientation is important


What is our country house actually for? Let’s think about some of the things that we might ask from it.

  • Minimal upkeep when not in use
    • I.e. it can be secured and maintained by a skeleton staff, perhaps just one or two
  • Can be prepared for use at 48 (24?) hours notice
    • We can assume a fairly close-by population who can be employed on a temporary basis
    • Likewise a fairly substantial town is nearby with large supermarkets and other suppliers
  • Able to support a wide range of residents, with suitable accommodation for:
    • A single person or couple, doing their own catering but with housekeeping services
    • A single family of up to 8, doing their own catering but with housekeeping services
    • Either of the above with a live-in chef and/or au-pair / nanny etc.
    • Extended family groups or around 30, fully catered
    • Up to 20 unrelated individuals, fully catered
  • Catering Requirements, any combination of the following:
    • Full board, from a single family up to 30 guests, indefinitely
    • 24-hour snacks, drinks, light meals
    • Formal dinner for up to 40
    • Buffet style lunch for up to 100
    • Picnic style food for up to 150


What sort of activities might we want our country house to support?

  • Act as a full time family residence indefinitely
  • Host formal dinners for guests
  • Host meetings, retreats, that sort of thing
  • Hold informal parties
  • Host formal balls


Apart from the basics (bedrooms, living rooms, food preparation, laundry etc) what other facilities can we expect our house to provide:

  • Swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, exercise equipment
  • Screening room
  • Large Library
  • Games room
  • Craft / hobby room
  • Undercover parking for at least 5 vehicles, nearby parking for up to 50 vehicles
  • Stabling for at least 4 horses
  • Workshop space

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