DescriptionThe Cedar House was commissioned by W. H. Holt as the first in a proposed development of small houses designed to showcase Canadian red cedar. It was built on land owned by Chris. Gabriel, a timber importer. Interviewed for the June 30, 1934 issue of “Timber and Plywood”, Mr. Gabriel noted that Sir Edwin took a keen interest in the development – “laying out the general survey of the land and plotting of the roads and sites in addition to paying close attention to the design of some twenty or twenty-five houses, each differing from the others”.
The Cedar House was detailed on both the interior and exterior with clear grade red cedar imported from British Columbia, Canada. The structural frame and roof members were of Canadian Douglas fir covered with cedar shingles, the chimneys brick with a cedar surround. On the interior, Lutyens detailed panelled walls, a staircase with an intriguing lattice railing, and a fireplace for the sitting room with an arched opening surrounded by a hanging bookshelf detail. Expansive corner windows in the original dining room and the sitting room, respectively to the left and right of the front entry, pour light into these rooms and balance the fenestration of the front elevation.
The exterior elevations are dominated by an encompassing, steeply pitched roofline which sweeps down to the top of the ground floor on either side elevation. The front elevation is punctuated by a prominent gable end which emphasizes the location of the recessed front entry and gives distinction to the main upstairs bedroom. Detailing on the front elevation includes an inset wooden lintel over the porch and sawtooth barge-boards. The cedar siding was displayed in horizontal weather-board with feathered sheathing below the ground-level window-sills and as vertically hung shiplap above. Vertical slats cover the joints in the shiplap.
The rear elevation was designed by Edwin Lutyens to reflect the front elevation, but with a smaller gable insert. This has since been altered by a kitchen addition by Stuart Martin Architects that reflects Lutyens’s initial design details. (Contributor: Robyn Prater) Due E of the village in Philpot Lane is CEDAR HOUSE, 1934 by Lutyens for W.H. Colt & Son, manufacturer of timber houses, who envisaged an estate of some twenty cottages to the architect’s design. Even for Lutyens’s varied output this is rather unusual: two-storeyed, clad in red cedar boards – horizontally for a plinth on the ground floor and vertical above. Deep shingle roof, coming down to the lintels of windows which are large gridded ‘Yorkshire’ sashes set at the corners of the ground floor. Central gable with bargeboard above a recessed porch. Even the brick chimneys are boarded. Inside also cedar-lined and fitted. Stair with geometric pattern balustrade. Matching garage. It would not look out of place on the Canadian prairie. At the rear a later C20 two-storey extension, incorporated and re-clad and re-windowed to match the rest in a sensitive refurbishment begun c. 2005 (the decayed external boarding replaced in the same warm red cedar) by Stuart Martin for Carole and Doug Mancini, who designed many of the interior fittings themselves. (O’Brien et al., 2022, p.207)
BibliographyO’Brien, C., Nairn, I. and Cherry, B. (2022) Surrey. Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of England. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Also Cited InNairn, I., Pevsner, N. (1971) Surrey (Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of England). 2nd edn. Yale University Press.
Butler, A., 1950. The architecture of Sir Edwin Lutyens: the Lutyens memorial series. Vol 1: Country Houses, Country Life: London and Scibners: New York.
ClientW H Colt