White Rendered 1.5 Storey Potton Caxton Home

Andy & Carole Whitehouse

A Solution on the Doorstep

Carole and Andy Whitehouse bought the house next door and replaced it with an energy efficient cottage which took just five months to build.

Finding an affordable building plot can prove a major hurdle for many prospective self builders, but for Carole and Andy, the solution was quite literally on their doorstep.

The couple had lived in their Bedfordshire home for 25 years and had extended and modernised the property, which stands on a quiet country lane backing onto fields.

Location:
Bedfordshire
Land Cost:
£225,000
Build Cost:
£240,000
Value:
£550,000
Completion Date:
February 2013
Floor Area:
1991 sq ft
"It was an old house and required extremely high maintenance" says Andy. "We loved the character, and living out in the countryside, but wanted somewhere more energy efficient and easier to maintain. When the tiny run down cottage next door came up for sale we decided to buy it and apply for planning permission to replace it with a new home."

Tailoring a Show Home

"A friend of ours had built a large Potton house many years ago and we had always liked it, so we didn't really shop around" says Andy. "We wanted something more modest, and chose to base our design on the Caxton - a traditional cottage with sloping ceilings, an inglenook fireplace and exposed post and beams."

Carole and Andy visited the Potton Show Centre where they were able to walk around the Caxton show house and get a real feel for the design. They then worked with Potton's Architect to adapt the design to suit their requirements.

"The fact that we could have whatever we wanted was a huge selling point" comments Andy.
Potton's sales and design support was excellent throughout, and we were impressed by the flexibility of their timber frame system.

Employing a Project Manager

The couple had previously built two holiday homes for themselves in France, employing a Project Manager to oversee the work for them. This relatively hands-off approach worked well, and was something they wanted to replicate on their Bedfordshire build.

"I was working full time" says Andy, a Project Manager for an engineering company, "but Carole is a semi-retired Financial Controller, and was able to spend time on-site chasing up orders and liaising with our Project Manager Shaun O'Connor. He was recommended to us by Potton and had built his own Potton house nearby which we went to visit. We chose him because we liked him, and it was definitely the right decision - we simply couldn't have built this house without him and he was able to recommend local subcontractors he had used on his own build."

Work began with the demolition of the ramshackle cottage, the site was cleared and new foundations were excavated. A block and beam floor was laid and Potton sent a team of men to erect the post and beam timber frame, creating a watertight shell in under three weeks.

Building Work Commences

Potton supplied and installed the highly insulated external walling system, which has been rendered and painted a stone colour to contrast with the red brick plinth and handmade clay roof tiles. Carole and Andy are particularly pleased with the uneven finish and mottled colours of these tiles, which help to create an instantly aged appearance.

Energy efficiency was a high priority for the couple, who were keen to keep their fuel bills to a minimum. Underfloor heating has been installed throughout the two-storey house and is connected to an air source heat pump.

The same bricks which were used externally for the plinth and chimney have also been chosen to construct an impressive open fireplace in the living room which was inspired by a design the couple saw in Potton's Gransden show house.

Andy and Carole moved into rented accommodation which placed a strict time limit on completing their new home and five months after work started on site the couple moved into their new home.

"We probably should have waited another two or three weeks, but we didn't want to renew the lease on our rental property, so we lived in the new house with workmen finishing off around us" says Andy.

Life in a brand new energy efficient house is a totally different experience for Andy and Carole to their property next door.

"Everything in the new house was designed for ease of maintenance and we've already seen a big drop in our fuel bills" Carole remarks. "We may only have moved fifty metres along the road, but this house feels a world away from our previous home, and we still get to enjoy the same country views!"

House Design & Floor Plans

Whitehouse Floor plans

Gallery

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