Case Study of the Month - March
Planning for the Future
Land Cost: £425,000 with existing bungalow
Build Cost: £478,000
Current Value: Unknown
First time self builders Dave and Barbara Jenkins wanted to plan ahead for their retirement - inviting Potton to design a totally bespoke new home which would cater for their needs into old age.
"We moved into our previous house in Hertfordshire when it was brand new, back in 1981, and lived there ever since" says Barbara. "Dave retired early in 2009 and i also planned to take early retirement in 2015. My job leading a hospital transformation programme involved a great deal of new build and that's when I realised how exciting it would be to build our own home."
Barbara's mother had met her father in the pretty village of Bradpole, West Dorset, and Barbara decided to visit the church where they married to take some pictures.
"I wanted to show my mum where she used to live and when I saw how beautiful the area is, I knew it would be a fantastic place for our retirement" Barbara explains.
Finding a plot of land in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty proved difficult but the Jenkins eventually found a bungalow on a secluded 1.25 acre plot with far reaching country views. They made enquiries at the planning office regarding replacing the bungalow with a new house and, as the response was positive, they purchased the property in 2013.
The couple remained living in their Hertfordshire house and bean researching various options for the triangular shaped plot.
"We knew we wanted to build a timber framed house and a work colleague spoke very highly of Potton, so we decided to visit their Show Centre in Cambridgeshire.We were excited to discover that they coud create a totally bespoke, contemporary deign for us and after that there was no looking back!"
Sean Adams, Potton's Self Build & Planning Consultant for the South West, met Dave and Barbara at the old bungalow to discuss their needs, which involved planning ahead so that the couple could continue living there well into old age.
A self contained ground floor annex, with its own kitchen, lounge, bedroom and ensuite has been located to one end of the ground floor, which can be used by visitors and would also accomodate future disability.
"We wanted this house to see us out" says Barbara. "Everything we need is on the ground floor, with easy wheelchair access, and there's also enough room for a live in carer."
The existing L-shaped bungalow footprint has remained almost unchanged but by building a two storey house the Jenkins have virtually doubled the size of their accomodation, creating a spacious four bedroomed home with a feature galleried hallway.
Externally, the timber framed house has been clad with crisp ash-white render and dark grey Spanish roof slates, with a plinth of locally-quarried Blue Lias stone. Windows and bifolds are framed in anthracite aluminium with timber linings internally, and the rear of the house opens onto a large south facing terrace.
"The house isn't anything like the surrounding properties but the planners didn't have a problem with that and we didn't need to make any changes. That was all down to Sean Adams at Potton knowing what the planners would accept, which was a great benefit."
Work started on site with the demolition of the old bungalow in February 2015 and local Potton approved contractors, Acorn House Ltd, were recommended for the project. New beam and block foundations were constructed and Potton erected the timber frame, with the doors and windows installed by a specialist company - including triple glazing to the northern aspect. The builders undertook all other elements of the project, which was completed in eleven months.
"We didn't physically do anything ourselves but were involved with choosing everything and ordered items like our oak staircase and internal doors through Potton" says Barbara. "There's underfloor heating throughout, and we have solar water panels mounted on the roof, with solar PVs on the garage for electricity.
The house is well sealed but a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system means the air is always fresh and we have a dedicated plant room for all the equipment."
Designing and building their own home meant that Dave and Barbara could include personal details which make all the difference.
"It's the planning stage which is so important, to avoid making alterations later."
"The whole project ran really smoothly and the finished house has more than exceeded our expectations. Now we can relax knowing that this will be our home for life!"