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An insight into design at Northstone by Richard O’Brien, Design Director

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October 04, 2019

As a new placemaker and homebuilder, Northstone brings something different to the table from a traditional housebuilder. Our thoughtful and sustainable approach to design has the opportunity to create exceptional places and homes with the benefit of much cheaper energy bills.

Our focus on design simplicity means we can also build quicker without compromising quality, bringing more much-needed homes to the market for families, first-time buyers and downsizers while helping to solve the housing crisis and a local shortage of certain types of houses.

My passion is creating special places and house designs that make the best use of space for how we live today. Developing exceptional places and homes is of equal importance to us and we firmly believe that it’s only through having both, that people and communities can truly flourish for generations to come. Inside and out, our innovative design will make home life simple and ultimately, we hope this will impact positively of people’s quality of life.

I have spent most of my career in housebuilding, designing new homes and developments across the UK. At Northstone, we’ve challenged and elevated traditional property development principles in home building.

Our exclusive designs have incorporated the ‘wish-list’ knowledge we’ve gained over the years from occupiers and homeowners. Attention to detail. That’s what makes the difference. And it should be evident in every aspect of your home. We have tried to incorporate all our knowledge into the design of our houses and what really makes a house feel like home. Light bright spaces, with large areas of glazing, to fill the space full of natural light. Taller ceiling heights to create additional volume. And regarding the design of our floor plans, we have been concentrating on allowing the home user to have as much opportunity as possible to adapt the spaces to the way in which they want to live.

We have introduced space dividers as a way of separating some of the functions that may occur. So, by simply moving a slatted screen into place, you can create an open plan area that works as a study/home office and a living room.

We are also responding to the ever-growing market of home automation. Simple tasks like switching on lights or power circuits remotely to prepare the house for your arrival are becoming more commonplace and, when used in conjunction with app-based heating controls, really make the home work in-sync with you. The more responsive technologies learn your daily routines and can even predict patterns of use. We will be watching how this develops and will look to integrate appropriate functions as and when the time is right.

We know that keeping your home warm and making it run efficiently are important matters, which is why we have chosen to pay particular attention to insulation levels, ventilation and energy efficiency. And, at Westhoughton, we have also included a renewable technology (a wastewater heat recovery system) that will make the home even more fuel efficient.

We’re equally passionate about developing exceptional places that surround our sustainable homes. The landscaping onsite will embrace natural land features and will be pedestrian-led to offer significantly more breathing space between homes compared to conventional designs, which reduces neighbourhood traffic speeds and on-road parking, increasing public spaces, connectivity and community links; whilst limiting vehicle fumes.

Our carefully considered place designs use immediate and early-maturing trees and plants in their landscaping, not only to create the beauty and privacy of more established settings, but to encourage and enrich the biodiversity affected by initial development work, more rapidly.

I look forward to revealing the house types for Roscoe’s and I am truly excited about the look and feel of the site as a whole.