Fin Orme designs a self-built house in Somerset with ORME Architecture

The house is located on the same land as Orme’s childhood home – an eco-house designed in 1997 by his late father Mark Orme, founder of ORME architecture. The new structure is constructed primarily of wood, using a two-post frame and structural glulam.

The walls and roof are insulated with recycled hot cell newspaper and the exterior is clad mostly in local larch wood, grown within 30 miles of the site. Photovoltaic panels and an air-source heat pump provide a localized self-sufficient source of heat and electricity.

A double-height open-plan living space sits at the heart of the building, hosting a kitchen, dining room, and lounge areas. The kitchen is made from CNC cut plywood and reclaimed wood fronts with a micro cement worktop. Two large sliding glass doors open from the living room onto a west facing patio which overlooks Glastonbury Tor and is designed to capture the evening sunsets. Two double bedrooms are at either end of the living space, with a mezzanine studio above the guest bedroom. The double-height master bedroom hosts a large corner window and an outdoor tub adjacent to the en-suite bathroom.

The Wriggly Tin was delivered as design and self-build with Orme leading the project from concept to completion. He worked with ORME Architecture during the concept and engineering design stages, then acted as project manager and builder during construction, alongside fellow recent architectural graduates George Fisher and Jessica Wheeler.

Architect’s view

The innovation of the project is based on the interconnection between design and construction; where material, design and manufacturing have constantly influenced each other. The self-build process, which was completed during the pandemic, made me realize the benefit of spending time on site while training to become an architect, learning first-hand how buildings fit together. Embracing a self-improvement, handcrafted mindset was a key factor in creating this deeply personal and bespoke home.

The project was guided by a local and sustainable building program to reduce carbon emissions, which is reflected in the building’s materiality, structural form and energy strategy. Design decisions were carefully discussed with like-minded material suppliers and manufacturers, not only in terms of performance, but also as aesthetic proposals. Particularly instructive was the role of two local builders who worked with us two days a week to help guide the more intricate elements of the timber frame construction.

The opportunity to lead the project soon after graduation, working alongside my fellow recent architecture graduates, George Fisher and Jessica Wheeler, was an exhilarating and transformative learning curve that would not have been possible without the time and energy of so many brilliant people. Thanks to everyone involved.

The customer’s point of view

I am delighted with the Wriggly Tin, it is a perfect home for me as I go through my late 50’s and exceeded my expectations. I wanted a house that spilled out onto the outside so I could move from indoors to outdoors. It was beautifully done. The open-plan living space allows the house to absorb the many people that pass through the space.

The design created a deep sense of connection with nature and the surrounding landscape, with light flooding the space at all times of the day. I particularly love watching the sun go down behind Glastonbury Tor from my lovely double-height bedroom and outdoor bath.

It was a pleasure to work with my son on this project. He guided and supported me throughout the journey brilliantly. He took any stress in his stride and was very patient and patient with my relentless indecisiveness. I am a very proud mother and owner.
Sarah Orme

Project data

Start on site October 2020
Completion date January 2022
Gross interior floor area 111m2
Gross floor area (internal + external) 145m2
Form of contract or supply route Self build
Building cost £220,000
Construction cost per m2 £1,520
Architect End-Elm
Executive Architect ELM architecture
Customer Sarah Orme
structural engineer Jean Beverage
landscape consultant Tom Trouton
Project Manager End-Elm
lead designer End-Elm
Certified building inspector Somerset Building Control
CAD software used VectorWorks

Environmental performance data

Percentage of floor area with daylight factor > 2% Not calculated
Percentage of floor area with daylight factor > 5% Not calculated
On-site energy production 100%
Annual city water consumption 50 meters3/occupant
Waterproof to 50pa 2.85m3/hm2
design life 80 years old
Embodied Carbon / Lifetime Not calculated
annual CO2 emissions Unavailable

Comments are closed.