Updating and extending a '60s house
Folly's End was a typical 1960's pastiche of a Sussex style house that mixes a number of different architectural styles. When our clients first bought it, it was showing definite signs of neglect. Weatherboarding was rotting all round the house, windows were moulding and rotten, and after lying empty for eighteen months, the garden was an overgrown jungle.
But they could see the potential, and fortunately had enough of a budget to unlock the opportunity of this unloved house, so asked us to help them turn it into a dream home. It was a very extensive project, not just to rectify the dereliction, but to completely change the face of the building and turn it into a lovely family home for them and their four children.
Replacing the weatherboard with tile hanging transformed the appearance
Converting the loft added two more bedrooms and a leisure space>
"We knew it was a big job, but didn't realise how much involvement the Council would demand.”
Any material change in the appearance of a property is likely to call for planning permission, so to maximise the value, we pulled together a complete set of plans for all the different aspects of the planned works.
Apart from tile hanging, these included; closing up the existing internal garage to turn it into a study; building a new garage and utility room to the side of the house; moving the access to the highway; adding on a conservatory to the rear; and converting the attic space into two additional bedrooms and a leisure space. Fortunately Rother Council is a very helpful local authority, and as there was little likely impact on any adjacent properties, the plans were all readily agreed.
"Getting the planning permission at the outset meant that we could work through the different aspects of the job over time, without having to worry about going back to the council each time we wanted to do the next bit. It meant we had one less thing to worry about."
The planning permission gave three years to start the works. In reality all were competed within that period, even the conservatory, which was the last piece of the development. Michael and Teresa decided that rather than contract a builder for the whole job, they would do it in stages and manage the project themselves. They retained us to advise them as it progressed, and help to find relevant tradesmen to deliver the different pieces of the jigsaw. Apart from bricklayers, electricians and plasterer, we were also able to help them source new windows from a local joinery company who also supplied and built the Oak porch.
This unusual Victorian Folly gave the property it's name and benefitted from restoration
The finishing touch is this bright and airy South-facing conservatory
For most people taking on a 'Grand Design' is an ambition they rarely get to realise, and it's a tough road to follow. In the last decade the explosion of TV programmes charting the desire of couples to create their own space, coupled with the growing boredom with identikit new housing developments means that more and more people are now going down the road of self-development.
In the fifteen years or so since we redesigned Folly's End we've seen planning authorities across the country reacting to this trend by tightening up their demands hugely. Today, every application needs a multi-page design and access statement that goes into extreme detail, and relates to the local authority plan Neither of these things existed just a decade ago. Mike and Teri readily admit that they'd be reluctant to go through the same hoops today, but as we pointed out, they wouldn't have to because that's what we do for a living!No doubt as they get closer to retirement, they'll find themselves another another project to see them through that stage, and we look forward to working with them again.