The Owlsmoor Observatory

Described by its owner as the ‘hobbit house’, the Owlsmoor Observatory has strking proportions as a result of an unusual design brief.

The requirement to fit on a pre-existing patio gave us an exceptionally small space to play with.  Tall neighbouring houses added further restrictions, as did the need for a warm room that could accommodate the owner standing up.  The result was an observatory with an unusual configuration: the warm room, instead of being located under the roll-off frame, is put to one side, giving an L-shaped overall configuration.

Split internal floor levels allowed us to raise the floor in the observatory to grant the owner better views of the sky, whilst keeping a low floor in the warm room in order to preserve headroom.  The floor itself was the first example of our amazing Phenolic Ply flooring – a resin-treated waterproof ply material that requires no additional finishing – providing a fully washable, non-slip and incredibly hard-wearing surface.

A glazed internal door provides a means of viewing the telescope from the warm room, and ‘checkerplate’ stair-nosings provide a hardwearing finish to the stepped doorways.

The roof, again a pent roof, is split between the two rooms, with only the observatory section rolling off.  Care was taken at the design stage to ensure the rooflines of the two sections ran parallel for a consistent look.  The roll-off structure included some additional timbers in a classic ‘pergola’ style – making an attractive seating area over which plants can be (carefully) trained.