Old Holloway

Juraj Mikurcik, Herefordshire, 2017


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Juraj Mikurcik     Download Original

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A seductively simple self-build house in the heart of rural Herefordshire.

The owners set out to design and build a modest but efficient house for their small family. The project came with a few constraints: the design had to pass strict Duchy of Cornwall design code (usually applied to Poundbury-type developments), the house location favoured a single-storey design, achieving passivhaus was a planning condition and the budget was limited.

The result is a single-storey family home with pitched corrugated metal roof, south-facing verandah and timber cladding charred on site, giving a nod to the local Herefordshire agri-vernacular.

The central open plan kitchen, dining and living space with its high cathedral ceiling, provides generous daytime accommodation. A large sliding door extends the usable living space onto the south-facing covered timber deck. Bedrooms and bathroom are clustered at the western end of the house, while multi-functional study/ guest bedroom bookends the house from the east.

Being a certified passivhaus, the house is extremely well insulated, airtight and ventilated, providing consistently comfortable and healthy conditions throughout the year, with minimal energy consumption.

The house is built with low-impact, renewable and recycled products as far as possible: external walls are a combination of timber and straw with additional woodfibre insulation, natural clay plasters are used throughout the interior, applied either directly to straw (external walls) or to fermacell boards (internal partitions).

Environmental conditions and energy consumption have been monitored since the completion – the house has performed very well at both extreme winter and summer conditions.The fully story of the self-build project can be read on the blog oldholloway.wordpress.com.


  • Begun: Aug 2016
  • Completed: Nov 2017
  • Floor area: 99m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £135,000
  • Funding: Self-build mortgage (Ecology BS)
  • Procurement: Self-build project, directly employing sub-contractors
  • CO2 Emissions: 1.83kg/m2/year
  • Address: Herefordshire, HR2, United Kingdom