Charlotte Skene Catling : The Dairy House
Charlotte Skene Catling
The Dairy House
Steffen Blosh, December 10, 2007
Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris
Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris


Charlotte Skene Catling studied architecture at the University of Westminster. She worked in Berlin with Axel Kufus and for the practice Elz und Rothkegel. She has written about architecture, design and fashion and has contributed to the Sunday Telegraph, and regularly to The Burlington Magazine. She co-wrote a film script with Malcolm McLaren based on Christian Dior. In 2000 she created and became director of ‘Eco Lab’ (PLC), an organic food, fashion and cosmetics company. She set up SCDLP (Skene Catling de la Peña) Architects with Jaime de la Peña in 2002.

Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris
Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris


Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris
Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris


Since this time, SCDLP has completed a house in Somerset; a number of residential projects in London; ‘Frontline’ a restaurant, private members club, exhibition space and forum for war correspondents in Paddington. It has also designed and delivered retail spaces for Agent Provocateur. To date the practice has completed twenty two sites around the world (including London, New York, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Zurich and Istanbul), meeting very tight budget and programme constraints, with a further seven sites to be handed over in 2007.

Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris
Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris


Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris
Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris


Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris
Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris


The Dairy House

The conversion of a former Dairy to a five bedroom, three bathrooms house with a small bathing pool. The challenge was to complements the existing structures with minimal external impact, while opening up the interior to create a flowing, unified, internal space. Local materials such as estate oak, and stone rescued from the site during excavation were used throughout, and the aesthetic of the new structure was influenced by the raw planks stacked with spacers for drying in the barns opposite the site.


Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris
Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris


Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris
Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris


The cottage has been simplified to create a more spacious living sequence and the new additions provide what the old house lacked – an entrance with some presence, generous circulation and extensive bathing - yet it’s also a discreet coup de theatre that gives the earthbound vernacular a more complex alter ego. Ordered around the celebration of water – the pool started as a shallow reflecting mirror to bounce light into the back of the house and grew to a habitable depth - the bathrooms are constructed by layering oak and thick green float glass, the eerie light and dematerializing effect of reflections making it seem an aquatic underworld.


Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris
Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris


Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris
Charlotte Skene Catling_Dairy House_James Morris


www.charlotteskenecatling.com