The ugly duckling turns into a swan
Ttere's an old saying that if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is, which is something these clients wondered shortly after they moved into this property. They fell in love with the location and bought the house, which was on the market in a fire sale, and despite a structural survey that was so full of caveats it practically said 'Wreck - don't touch!'
Ok, it was an awful lot of property for the money with stunning country views, just ten miles from Tunbridge Wells and three from the mainline railway. But it was also struggling with the legacy of having been very badly extended by the previous owner who had been a part-time builder. No two rooms used the same materials, and the idea of meeting building regulations seems to have never crossed his mind.
Still, they could see the potential, and full of enthusiasm, they gave us a call to show off their new home and pick our brains for ideas.
First project was to add the double garage with room above
The vaulted ceiling created a fabulous Garden room
"With a building you can change everything, but you can't change where it is.”
"We knew this was going to be a long-term project, and given the rural location we also needed to work with an architectural designer who could get on well with the local planners. Peter & Lizzie held many meetings with Rother Council, discussing ideas and ending up with 100% of what we wanted to achieve. .
The first extension was to provide a new garage and utility area, complete with an ensuite guest bedroom and study above. A couple of years later the lounge and master suite were also extended, and along the way we put in a design for a light and airy garden room. This was built for year-round use giving a valuable additional space to the property.
The most striking change, which also required lengthy consultation with the council, was to remove the mansard roof, and turn it into a traditional Sussex-style house. The net result, even though the main roof pitch ended up at just 39 degrees rather than 45, is a striking family home that sits beautifully in its rural setting.
The stunning location justified an amazing home
Landscaping formed an important aspect of the overall design
The finished house was the culmination of around nine years' worth of work - not for the faint hearted - but like most big projects benefitted from being dealt with in bite-sized chunks. Looking at the house today, it is almost impossible to see the original farmer's bothy on which it was based. Instead it is a fine Sussex House that has appeared in Sussex Life, and Country Life magazines and provides an exceptional home for its happy owners.
We worked closely with the owners from the outset and developed a great relationship with them, providing advice and help with finding builders and many other suppliers from landscape specialists to oak reclamation, to deliver their dreams. Understandably they were utterly delighted with the outcome which fully repaid their initial decision to take the risk and buy a wreck.