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The Flint House, Blackheath, by Nick Willson Architects

Sustainability in practice: From custom-made door handles to integrated baby gates, we considered every little detail in this completely bespoke home

The Flint House combines new technologies with a rich mixture of crafted elements: a flint wall, lead cladding and timber joinery, each handmade by specialists.

We have created a completely bespoke home, with unique windows and doors, distinctive kitchen joinery, custom-made door handles - even specially integrated baby gates.

Every detail has been carefully considered, and on a variety of scales. For example, there is a one-off dining table for the kitchen, but then the structural system is unique too: a prefabricated Finnforest I-joist timber frame with a 3mm tolerance, developed using BIM.

On plan, the house is divided into four wings - two to the west and two to the east. All four areas are linked by a central circulation route and library space, visually connected by a large glazed element next to the entrance.


The west wings are clad in a mixture of split flint and render. The east elevation, which brings together the landscape, home and garden, is enclosed in a ribbon of vertical oak cladding that runs from the ground floor, along the terrace and first floor walls.

The house therefore has a strong element of texture and materiality, from the rough flint of the exterior to the smooth resin and white tongue-and-groove joinery, which wraps around the interior.

The oak is English and FSC accredited, and solar thermal panels are fitted with smart meters to provide the house with sustainable heating. It also makes use of natural ventilation and a sedum roof above the new garage.

Nick Willson


Nick Willson, a graduate of the University of Manchester and the Bartlett, worked for Foster + Partners, Buschow Henley and MJP Architects before setting up his own practice in January 2010. ‘For us, architecture is storytelling, as we evolve a first sketch into a finished building,’ he says. ‘The client is central to this process, and we build the narrative together.’


Start on site August 2009

Contract duration 15 months

Gross internal floor area 170m2

Type of contract JCT IFC 2005

Total construction cost £615,000

Cost per square metre £2,277

Client Mark Stafford and Anna Jenkins

Architect Nick Willson Architects

Structural engineer Trevor Millea

M&E consultant None

Quantity surveyor Bonfield

Project manager None

Main contractor Modernarc

CDM co-ordinator None

Approved building inspector Greenwich Council

Estimated annual co2 emissions Not calculated

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