Contemporary House with Moat on the South Coast of England by AR Design Studio

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If the idea of a contemporary house with a “moat” intrigues you, check out Abbots Way, a secluded lakeside project by AR Design Studio. You can reach Abbots Way via a private forest lane — and the moat — to another surprise: gardens. The front garden is casual and welcoming around the entrance. A Japanese herb garden delineates a home office; a third garden is an enclosed wooded space near the kitchen; the fourth is a large, open space extending to the lakeshore upon which Abbots Way sits. The upstairs, a white “box” set atop the lower level, holds the five bedrooms with expansive glass walls that give occupants the delightful sensation of sleeping in treetops.

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On the ground floor, the open plan continues. The same floor tile is used from the interior to the exterior, to give a truly connected feeling to the terrace and blend indoors and outdoors. The palette is streamlined and clean; white dominates on furnishings, even seating areas, and plays off stainless steel in the kitchen, while native stone is used on the lower exterior walls for an elegant contrast. Dark flooring provides a peaceful backdrop for it all — a retreat that the owners rightfully savor once they cross the “moat” to come home. And home, “green” home it is while super insulation makes it supremely energy-efficient. “Crossing it [the moat] via a bridge to access the front door enables the owners to psychologically leave the outside world behind and enter into their own retreat,” the designers say. And they’re right. While a house with a moat may seem like a throwback…in the case of Abbots Way, it’s forward-looking as well.

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