The House That Charles Built

oliver Healthy spaces, Natural stuff


 I’ve recently returned from a visit to Prince Charles’ Natural House and must say I was impressed. The low-key aesthetic approach represents a more populist direction for the Prince, who  is trying to help make our streets and homes greener, warmer and healthier, without creating a new style genre of design which can be off putting for many who don’t feel they are part of the “green movement”.

Built by the Prince’s Foundation and the Building Research Establishment, the challenge was to build a functional low carbon, energy saving house. I really think they’ve achieved it and it’s a genuine alternative for volume house builders.

What surprised me was the traditional approach to design. The Prince himself described the house saying: it doesn’t wear its “greenness” as if it were the latest piece of haute couture”. His Royal Highness is often quite outspoken about modern architecture but I think his traditional approach may reflect many people’s preference when it comes to houses.

The house looks like many other ordinary semi, but as you might expect there are some key differences. The highly efficient structure uses natural materials such as aerated clay blocks, lime render and wood fibre insulation. As well as this, clay tiles are used for the roof and FSC certified timber for the floors.

The house can be constructed faster than traditional brick houses and its versatility makes it perfect for modern living. However, for me, the most exciting part is the use of natural, non-toxic materials. The health and well-being benefits for the family (Royal or otherwise!) are really close to my heart, especially after my own renovation project.

The kitchen

It’s really good to see such high profile members of the Royal family looking to create positive, functional eco-design that reflects people’s preference for traditional and classic design. I’m sure we’ll be seeing them spring up all over the country in the not-too-distant future.

I just hope his Mother is happy.