Deep in Devon on their family-owned Chevithorne Barton Estate lies an extraordinary home surrounded by nothing but trees. In ode to our architectural properties as featured in our September article, we speak with Jessica and Jason Green about their award-winning home, Verte, in our latest owner's chronicle. 

“This is a crafted building created by an intuitive mind. It appears on the landscape as an organism that has molded itself to its environment. This is a wholly original house.” A fitting intro for Verte from the Royal Institute of British Architects in response to their judging for the 2019 RIBA South West Award, of which it unsurprisingly went on to win. And, indeed, this nature-nestled abode is wholly original: a larch-cladded shard that is at once iconic, yet understated, in its clever design. Made entirely from wood, save for the steel to make the piles which allow it to rest upon the hill and the glass for the all-important windows, this spectacularly grown-up treehouse melts into its surroundings with ease. 

Verte in Chevithorne, Devon

Located on Devon’s Chevithorne Barton Estate - home to the UK’s, if not the world’s, largest and most comprehensive collection of oak trees, started by Jess’ father Michael Heathcoat Amory - it was impossible for this beautiful and personally-cherished spot to not be both the base and the inspiration for David Sheppard Architects, who brought the family's brief to life with his imaginative design. Jessica adds “I grew up at Chevithorne Barton and have always felt very at home amidst Devon’s rolling hills. It’s been so important to us for Verte to honour the natural beauty of the landscape in which it is ensconced.”

Inside Verte is just as impressive. The design scheme is one of hygge - minimalistic but with plenty of cosy touchpoints like woollen throws, textured rugs and plump cushions; embodying a kind of Swiss ski chalet aesthetic. In the open plan, glass-walled kitchen-diner-living-area, the view is all-encompassing. Described by Jessica as “a breathtaking work of art that changes through the seasons,” the outlook evolves from rich, fiery orange at the turn of autumn, when days are spent fireside, to verdant and light-filled when the trees are luscious and green in the height of summer, morning birdsong flowing through open doors.

The view from the window at Verte, the living room, and the exterior at night

An authentic family home, here the couple and their children while away time cooking, playing board games and simply making the most of the "magical" setting. For those looking to book a stay, Jessica and Jason suggest it’s all about the simple pleasures here - from enjoying the wood-fired hot tub at dusk to book-reading in the wrap-around window seat. Those in search of adventure are encouraged to embrace the Swallows and Amazons essence of the setting and head off through the wildflower meadows and trees, onto the lakes connected via a waterfall. Or venture to nearby Exmoor National Park or the Blackdown Hills AONB. 

Verte is available to rent for limited periods of the year with Unique Homestays. Book your stay.