Soho House & Co’s in-house design team collaborated with London-based architecture practice Michaelis Boyd on the development of Soho Farmhouse, the new countryside retreat set across 100 acres of rolling countryside in Great Tew, a village in the Oxfordshire countryside.
Soho Farmhouse includes 40 individually-designed cabins assembled around original farm buildings, complemented by the addition of contemporary new buildings. Michaelis Boyd worked alongside the Soho House design team on the Main Barn, Boathouse, Gym and Yoga Studios, Electric Barn Cinema, and the Steam and Sauna Island.
The 805m squared Main Barn is the heart of the farm, where guests congregate for drinks and food. It has large areas of glazing opening up to the Farm Yard, letting morning and evening light flood into the central space. To the east and west of the building, large glazed gable ends allow indirect natural light into the mezzanine dining areas as well as into the central bar and dining area at ground floor level. A balcony and glazed canopies were introduced to provide views over the courtyard, lake, Boathouse and gym.
The walls are finished in timber board that was reclaimed from a previously demolished barn. Cobbled stone flooring is used on the ground floor and reclaimed timber floorboards on the mezzanine levels. Crittall-style glazing has been incorporated, as well as reclaimed chicken-wire corrugated glass from America for the terrace roof covering.
The 1590m squared Boathouse, incorporates a 16 metre indoor pool that extends to a 25 metre outdoor deck-level pool that appears to float within a lake. The pool hall was designed to replicate the feel of a working boathouse and the specialist pool finish was selected to resemble the Cotswold stone used in the surrounding buildings.
The gym and yoga studios are the most contemporary additions to the farm. Sited on an east-west axis, the largely glazed eastern façade takes in the views of the central valley of the farm. To the north, an enclosed pavilion is linked to a secluded landscaped area that is used for yoga – a quiet space for meditation and contemplation. The main gym spaces are zoned loosely for cardio, weights and personal training.
The internal finishes are minimal, with an expressed saw-tooth ceiling punctuated by a series of Anton De Groof’s sculptural pendant light fittings. The walls are finished in blackened timber boards externally and white painted boards internally. Cork flooring is used throughout, with rubberised linoleum in the weight training areas.
The Electric Barn cinema was developed to be visually unassuming externally, with corrugated metal cladding for the roof and walls, and low level painted brick. The building is linked to both the Greenhouse and Kitchen Garden.
Internally, the 390m squared screening room is fitted with velvet armchairs and individual tables with lamps. As with the original Electric cinema in Portobello, London, individual cashmere blankets are offered for extra comfort.
The steam, sauna and ice room pavilions were designed to resemble a series of small-scaled self-built huts. The steam and sauna rooms are separated by a glazed roof walkway, leading to two raised hot tub platforms that open out to the privacy of the old Upper Mill Pond. To the north of the island, the decking connecting the island to the Cowshed building lowers and floats above the Lower Mill Pond level, forming a jetty for rowing boats.
all images courtesy of Soho Farmhouse