Lower Mill

Nestled in Ewell Village, Surrey, the repurposed Lower Mill estate has created over fifty superior waterside homes to rent for the over 65’s. The Hunters design for Birchgrove contains unique historical buildings including the nineteenth century Mill House and The Granary.

The overarching design aim was to create a place which gives residents a new lease of life, one which allows them to be sociable and meet or enjoy privacy in their apartments with abundant outside spaces and beautiful homes.

Contemporary apartments
Sweeping shared decks

Historically the 1896 Mill House was the family home attached to the corn mill which burnt down in 1938 – at which time it was a factory making wooden goods. The listed Georgian buildings have been refurbished, and complimentary new buildings added creating a harmonious and attractive new development. Nature is at the heart of this project.

Residents can enjoy sophisticated communal facilities, including a waterside restaurant with open kitchen, large decked terraces with riverside views and spaces which are flooded in natural daylight. A new snug / library is a welcome addition to the Old Mill whilst in the main building a new gym and wellness space has been included.

The original buildings set the design template, new materials and articulations aim to compliment the old and spaces were conserved including the carriage turning circle.   There is good access to public transport, local shops and services as well as abundant places to walk providing a sense of place and character.

Guest suite
The library

Meryl, a resident at Lower Mill said: “I lived in a small village, surrounded by the countryside in Stratford on Avon before moving here and the outlook of Lower Mill is so nice that it suits me perfectly. My apartment overlooks the wood which is just what I wanted. I used to bake in a tearoom that I loved, and baking was such a large part of my life. I haven’t stopped baking since moving here – especially for my grandsons. I’ve even baked biscuits for my neighbours and will be doing a cake demonstration with the chef for residents in the next few weeks.”

Large balconies
The Old Mill House and the new apartments

Working with conservation experts Bidwells, heritage work was focused on The Mill and Granary, removing spray foam and suspended ceilings from the 1980’s office conversion. Rafters were exposed, slate tiles patched, window shutters reconditioned and the buildings now have a new lease of life enhancing their historical characteristics.

Taking on board the historic nature of the site the homes are easy to read and navigate with easy access throughout, designed to incorporate principles for later living that is secure, with both natural design measures and use of technology. The design proposal took lighting, colour schemes and tonal contrast ensuring it is contemporary and casting of shadows, audible signs and tactile information into consideration.

Lower Mill Apartments offers flexibility with support for changing levels of frailty and comfortable resident communal areas with a range of facilities. The layout encourages social interaction which helps combat loneliness and the experience provides a sense of wellbeing.

Client Birchgrove
Location Ewell, Surrey
Role Architect