Architect Scott Theobold and the stunning family home he redesigned
PUBLISHED: 12:19 09 January 2017 | UPDATED: 14:29 10 January 2017
The Le Saux family's luxurious home in ITV's The Level was created by architect Scott Theobold. Duncan Hall takes a tour
As an architect seeing your work reach more than 2.8m people in their homes must be an amazing reward.
For Scott Theobold that dream became a reality when a family home he redesigned in Brighton’s Roedean Way was chosen as a location for ITV’s Brighton-set crime drama The Level.
Scott had been working on the former mock-Palladian house with views out over the English Channel since 2013. He collaborated with the London-based family of five on a design which saw them take the roof off and completely reimagine the interior in a minimalist style. Work was well on the way when Hillbilly Films and Television, the production company behind The Level’s tale of conflicted loyalties, drug dealing and police corruption, knocked on the door looking for a location for the wealthy Le Saux family. The huge floor-to-ceiling windows and airy kitchen became synonymous with Amanda Burton’s fearsome matriarch and provided a stark contrast to the cramped house inhabited by protagonist DS Nancy Devlin, played by Karla Crome. Filming took place on location earlier this year.
“The clients wanted a modern contemporary family home in Roedean,” says Scott, who founded Bold Architecture Design in 2007, sitting down with Sussex Life in the same kitchen as seen on the show – albeit with different furniture. “We went through each room and bedroom thinking about each space and worked together to build a design.”
A big part of his method is to talk to his clients to find out more about their lives. “Family was a very important part of the specification,” he says. “The more information I can get from a client the better – I want the story of how they live, when they have friends over, what they do as a family. It turns into a real understanding when you’re making a design and making sure it works.”
Much of the design was based around the south side of the house, which originally had a long sun room, but which left the rest of the house feeling fairly dark. Scott’s design used large floor to ceiling windows and a balcony lined with a glass partition to provide an uninterrupted view down the front garden across open parkland to the sea. A big part of the design was not to be afraid of space – there are large open uncluttered areas in the downstairs kitchen, dining and lounge, and the windows in the kitchen and dining room are high, allowing light to flood into the main space.
Previously one of the main features of the house had been a large staircase, the sort designed for an entrance at a grand Venetian ball. This has been replaced by an enclosed glass and wood staircase, letting light through the house and giving the rooms more prominence. It allows a flow throughout the house, with light and airy balconies on each of the two storeys. Skylights and large windows make the kids’ room, study and bedrooms on the north side of the house still feel light and open, while the lounge end of the ground floor is given a cosy feel with its position towards the centre of the house, illuminated by the big picture window to the south and a smaller northern window. All floors allow access to outside balconies making the most of the countryside-by-the-sea location.
The materials are largely natural, a mix of wood, glass and concrete, with zinc cladding on the roof. Although it looks very different from what went before Scott has kept the design on the original footprint of the building. “It has been stripped back to its original structure,” he says. “It was a dramatic build.” Sustainability was an important part of the design too. The glass windows provide solar heat, there is underfloor heating, vents allow air to circulate throughout the building and all lights are LED bulbs augmented by the natural light. “We have made the best of the south-facing opportunities,” says Scott. “Sustainability is a massive element of an architect’s thinking – how to make sure a building doesn’t require a huge amount of energy and finding materials which can be locally sourced. Regulations have enforced that thinking and clients are catching up with it as a result.”
For now Hove-based Scott is focusing on a project in Lancing, creating new houses on a brownfield site which will have back gardens leading onto the beach. He enjoys working in and around Brighton. “It’s a unique environment,” he says. “You have predetermined wind directions, driving rain and high salt content in the air which you always have to be thinking about. The city is very protective over its Regency heritage, there are various societies keen to ensure all changes are in keeping, or if they contrast that the quality of the building is high. A building like Embassy Court [a seafront Art Deco building close to the Brighton and Hove border] is a good example of a composition which works – a very modern building with the old.”
He was pleased with the representation the ITV series gave Brighton – although he only heard the series was coming to air through a friend. “There are some really nice artistic shots of Brighton,” he says. “They have shown the coast, Newhaven and the cliffs really well. They worked very hard for long hours on the shoot. Watching the series it feels as if they progressed all over the house – they did shots in the garden and even upstairs in the bedroom.”
For more about Bold Architecture Design call 01273 249390 or visit the website at www.bold.uk.com