Terry and Ann Mahoney
New York Urban Warehouse Style ...In Norfolk
• DEPARTMENT / POSITION: Sales & Marketing
• YEARS WORKED AT POTTON: 33 years
• AREA BUILT: Norfolk
• YEAR BUILT: 2005
Terry Mahoney joined what was known at the time as The Potton Timber Engineering Company in 1981, it was the year of the Royal Wedding, he had no experience of timber frame houses albeit that he and his wife Ann had bought and renovated 2 houses previously in the London area where they born.
With his production based job being in the Cambridgeshire/ Bedfordshire area they decided on a move which would allow them to be closer to Potton and where they imagined they would find an ideal house in the countryside.
After months of travelling daily to Great Gransden Potton’s head office and having little luck in finding this dream house, they finally decided that if Terry was involved with self-build why shouldn’t they look for a building plot and build something for themselves.
This was of course a major decision at that time because Potton had supplied only about 20 self-build kits and just how the couple would go about getting it built… they simply hadn’t a clue!
Then an old friend of Terry’s found a plot of land suitable for two houses, one a large family sized property with a big garden and the other a smallish plot with outline planning for a reasonably modest 3 bedroom home, their reaction to this was simply “well we can’t really afford it but perhaps we will be able to when it is completed… failing that if the worst came to the worst we can always sell it and make a bit of money!“
This first project took about 12 months to complete with both Terry and Ann carrying out all sorts of tasks that they never imagined they were capable of, fitting insulation, dealing with subcontractors, ordering material from suppliers choosing kitchens and bathrooms etc the list seemed endless.
The classic quote about the build experience came from Terry who had received a telephone call from the plumber who asked “Where would you like the soil stacks to be positioned?“ to which Terry’s response was “firstly tell me what a soil stack is and then I might be able to tell you where I want it”
12 years later all those things seemed like a distant memory Ann and Terry had managed somehow to build their very first home with the help of Potton trusted contractors. However they were now beginning to feel restless and hankering to build another, they had also seen a huge rise in the value of their home against that original build cost, so were in a good position to move upwards
This they did in 1991 when they stumbled on a large building plot for sale in a nearby Hertfordshire village, the plot had been lying dormant for a number of years and had planning permission for a single storey bungalow and garage, so the Mahoney’s with the help of Potton’s in house Architect Jeff Emms set about designing an 1800 square foot bungalow with two bedrooms a vaulted lounge and dining room a utility room and a garage that would hold 3 cars, this was their dream house and they thought they would stay there forever, then the bug came back again...
...Build number 3
After 5 years in Hertfordshire the couple started to think about the future, and on-coming retirement. They decided to look for a plot in North Norfolk an area which they loved to visit and had indeed spent many a weekend walking the area and enjoying the countryside and of course the culinary delights that the area is now famous for.
Following an excellent lunch in Norfolk one Sunday afternoon they spotted a for sale sign on a small plot at the rear of someone’s garden in a rural Norfolk village, and it was only £60,000. Within weeks their offer of £55,000 was accepted and once again the services of Jeff Emms Potton’s architect were called in to assist in the planning application for a small barn styled home.
The planning application went through reasonably smoothly and the couple set about building the home they had always imagined they would finish up with.
“Our aim was to build what we would describe as a detached apartment, for years we had been impressed by the urban warehouse styled conversions that we had seen in East London and New York, so we set about building something loosely based on that idea but in… North Norfolk ! “
Groundworks were put out to a local company who had a good reputation, the frame was erected by one of the Potton gangs I’d worked with since those early days in the eighties, they also carried out all of the first fix carpentry and prepared the external envelope for rendering.
“The layout on the inside was helped considerably by being able to work with my colleague Sean Adams who was able to interpret just how we wanted to live in this one bedroomed detached apartment! we sourced roof tiles from a 100 year old barn, we rendered the bulk of the outside of the house and used feather edged board on the front entrance and the single storey extension that was to become our TV room, and spare bedroom
Having fitted underfloor heating in our previous bungalow it was an obvious choice this time especially as we had a slate floor throughout the ground floor and had incorporated an heat recovery system and a computerises lighting system all of which would keep running costs to a minimum."
Now almost 10 years on the couple still really love the house and of course NorthNorfolk and, given the opportunity to do it again (which they wouldn’t!) there is not a single thing they would change!