Specifier Review
Kebony Cladding

Lees Munday Architects discover authentic Kebony cladding

Located in Dorking, deep in the Surrey Hills, a once traditional 20th Century house has been skilfully transformed by Lees Munday Architects into a contemporary family home, with an extension to give the property a new lease of life. Juxtaposed against the original building the architects selected Kebony, a global leader in the production of sustainable modified wood, to achieve the owner’s vision for a sustainable and family friendly home.

Improving the existing gloomy kitchen positioned on the east side of the house, with no garden access, was a key priority for the architects, who were able to rework the kitchen, dining and daytime seating area to provide an open plan functional living space which embraces the sunny western aspect of the house and takes advantage of the large rear garden and spectacular view. The adjacent lounge was significantly enlarged and continued the Kebony cladding along the rear elevation of the house.

Kebony Cladding

Kebony Cladding

For Lees Munday Architects, a relationship with the garden and the landscape was an essential focus throughout the design. As a result two sides of the new extension, and the lounge, were completely glazed to incorporate the garden as part of the interior living space, whilst bespoke sliding doors opening onto a paved patio for alfresco dining and children’s play were also installed. A loft conversion has provided an extra en-suite bedroom, while the master bedroom has gained a full height window and roof terrace, both taking full advantage of the spectacular far reaching views.

Kebony Cladding

Natural materials and finishes, including stone and timber were selected inside and out for their authenticity and the way they wear in instead of wearing out. Improving the energy efficiency of the house was also paramount for the owner, this was achieved by draught-proofing, enhanced insulation, and the installation of 21 flat black photovoltaic panels on the new kitchen roof. Successfully integrated with the design rather than an unattractive afterthought, the panels were combined with Kebony wood as a rainscreen system positioned over a mechanically fixed UPVC roof membrane to supply all the hot water for the property. The form of the main extension took its cue from the many agricultural barns in the local area.

Kebony Cladding

Kebony Cladding

Kebony Cladding

Lees Munday Architects discovered Kebony and selected the material for the roof and exterior cladding, which proved easy to work with without splintering. Unlike other modified timbers Kebony has an outdoor lifetime guarantee for 30 years. Developed in Norway, Kebony’s revolutionary technology is an environmentally friendly and patented process which modifies sustainably sourced softwoods by heating the wood with furfuryl alcohol – an agricultural by-product. By polymerising the wood’s cell wall, the softwoods permanently take on the attributes of tropical hardwood including high durability, hardness and dimensional stability. This unique process also provides Kebony with its characteristic appearance, which only grows more beautiful with time.

David Lees, Lees Munday Architects commented:

 “For this contemporary extension, we sought a single lightweight material that would be able to clad roofs as well as walls. After an extensive search for newly available ‘modified woods’, we were delighted to select Kebony with the knowledge that we could achieve our vision and leave the wood ‘authentically’ unfinished. We are extremely proud of this project and would thoroughly recommend Kebony as a cladding material, so much so that we have taken several clients to see this house and all have since chosen Kebony to clad their projects.”

Adrian Pye, International Sales Director at Kebony added:

“We are thrilled that Lees Munday Architects have realised the potential of Kebony to successfully introduce a new character to this building. The natural appearance of the wood perfectly complements the original building’s exterior; Kebony’s resistance to wear and weathering will also ensure the new extensions stands the test of time.”

Images: Jonathan Freeman





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