Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Real Home Feature

Home from Home

 When it was time for Simon and Sheena Loveday to downsize they were reluctant to leave the town they loved, so they came up with an unusual plan.

Detached new-build house

When Simon and Sheena decided to downsize from their four-bedroom town house in Somerset, they wanted to stay in the area they knew and loved. Their plan to sell the house, retain part of the their much loved garden to build on, without having to move anywhere, proved to be the solution!. Overcoming the challenge of the plot being overlooked on all four sides did not deter the couple!  In order to secure the positioning of the house, they borrowed a tower scaffold and heaved it round the garden, and soon discovered some treasures – a wonderful view west across fields to Glastonbury Tor, and east across gardens to the spire of the local church. ‘Although it was a small site, we wanted to create a spacious feel,’ says Sheena.   ‘Keeping the rooms generous in size, even if there weren’t many of them!’  The concept of open-plan living with generous windows and high ceilings was key.

Open plan living

Dining Area

 After two years they engaged Batterham Matthews Architects of Bath to design the house. ‘They took great care to understand how we lived and what we were looking for, and came up with a brilliant design’, says Simon. There were no planning issues as the site had planning approval (lapsed) for three houses on it already, so we just had to put in a new application for one house which proved very straightforward.

Low-level multipurpose furniture such as L-Shaped and modular sofa suits this space perfectly.

'Everything is stored in deep draws for easy access', says Sheena

A woodburner adds a touch to a modern interior

The builders, Chivers and Co from Cheddar, worked closely with them to turn it into reality and one of the first jobs was diverting the main town sewer to go around the house rather than underneath it.   Thankfully, an overnight decision to move the kitchen from one end of the house to the other, just before the drains were put in, helped to avoid building delays and extra costs. ‘Our architect warned us in advance that it’s much less expensive to make changes while the design is on paper. After the event, it’s costly,’ says Simon.

Work started in March 2013. Sheena and Simon wanted large open- plan, light filled living areas with modern comforts. To maximize the feeling of flowing space within a relatively small area, ‘inhabited walls’ were incorporated for storage, insulation and utility purposes. ‘The house doesn’t seem to have any storage at all – but the north and east walls are double walls, a metre wide.   The doors are set into the tongue and groove paneling, and you’ll find the laundry room – the larder – the downstairs cloakroom – the coat cupboard – and the boiler room’, says Simon,  ‘I never believed it would work– but I have to admit I was wrong!’

The build was not held up at any point, they had good weather and it was completed on schedule in November 2013. ‘The most challenging task, was waiting the phone line to be installed’, says Sheena. Building an energy efficient home was important to the couple. ‘We decided to bump up the insulation and not have solar panels. We successfully collect rainwater for flushing the loos, washing machine and the garden watering system,’ says Sheena.  English cedar was used for cladding the wood framed part of the house and they get massive solar gain from the large South and West facing windows. 

            The couple enjoyed personalising their new home once the structural work was near completion. They successfully demarcated the large open-plan living areas with rugs and carefully selected furniture linking the different living areas. . Downsizing from a period property, meant they had to be selective with what they were going to bring with them. Mixing selected classic pieces with contemporary influences has worked well in their new setting.  Keeping the colour palette as neutral as possible complements the dark bluey grey window and door frames, Sheena also chose White and Pale Sand linen for the custom made blinds which don’t distract from the clean lines of the windows and doors. ‘Books and paintings, much though we love them, had to go upstairs so that the downstairs walls could stay free’, says Sheena.    

 Although it is a small house – 175m square metres – it feels spacious and bright as the ceilings are slightly higher than normal, and the doorways and the staircase slightly wider.  Light pours down from the triangular roof light over the stairs and through the glass balustrade.  The galleried landing leads to the two bedroom suites and to a private roof terrace with panoramic views away to the Tor in the distance. 

Simon and Sheena now enjoy a stylish, contemporary and unique sun filled home. The 5 metre Bifold doors open out onto a decking area in the garden. Double hedging with Hornbeam and Yew ensures much needed privacy from overlooking homes all around the garden creating a little oasis in the middle of a city.  

Finalist in the LABC National Awards 2015 for Best Individual new home.


Batterham Matthews Architects 01225 851122
Chivers & Co 01934 740118
Bristol Bifold and Sliding Door Company 01179 000667
Firebelly Stoves Ltd 01422 375582
Silcox Son & Wicks 01225 463933
Andeli Art Gallery  01749 572373
Heals.  020 7896 7451
Haliden Rugs 01225 469240
Urban Cottage Industries 0207 193 2119
Kate Noble 01458 830078
John Lewis 03456 049 049 01803 326528
The Curtain Pole 01458 834166
Debenhams. 0344 800 8877
Bathstore 03300 240845 bathstore.com1: SITTING ROOM
Because the roof overhangs the decking area we are able to open the bifold doors even during the winter. 5mtr Bifold doors, get quote from  Bristol bifold and Sliding Door Company . Dual aspect Woodburning stove £800, FireBelly, wall painted in Breatheasy Sail White, matt emulsion, £34.99 for 5 litres, Crown. Freestanding suspending lamp with a marble base £180 Silcox Son & Wicks

2: Snug
Low-level multipurpose furniture such as L-Shaped and modular sofa suits this space perfectly.
Sofa, £1500, Silcox Son & Wicks. Picture £400 from Andeli Art Gallery Somerset . Ligne Roset Pont console table, £420, Heals.

‘I love my kitchen’, says Sheena, ‘ Everything is stored in deep draws so everything  more accessible and its such a sociable space’
Kitchen, Dark grey cabinets and drawers. with Bristol Beech work top. Work top round the sink is unpolished granite and from approx. £15,000, Timbercraft . Engineered oak flooring from Chivers and Co of Cheddar. Kelim knotted woven rugs £300 from Haliden Rugs Bath. Similar Vintage Enamel Pendant Lamp Shades, £62.52. Urban Cottage Industries

Breakfast Table
The small marble top table adjacent to the kitchen doubles up as am area for breakfast and card evenings.

Oil Canvas Painting by Kate Noble from £500. Similar Small Round Marble table, £375, John Lewis.  Similar Brass Swan neck floor lamp, £64.32, White ventian blinds, quotes from Curtain Pole Glastonbury

‘This is our favourite room as it has a wonderful view to Glastonbury Tour’, says Sheena.
Bedlinen , £20, Jasper Conran ,Debenhams. Red Lloyd loom chair from £20, Ebay.

Siting The bath in the sunny southwest corner maximizes the view across the rooftop onto the woods.
Freestanding Acrylic/ Enamel Bath from £200 Bathstore. Freeform one piece close coupled WC inc seat, £459, Bathstore

Roof Terrace
We use this sheltered and southwest facing roof terrace all year round
Galvanised metal Agricultural cattle trough filled with Mediterranean herbs from £70.  Tinknells  Country Store.  French Folding Metal table and chairs from £100,Wells reclamation Yard

Tinknells Country Store 01749 683150
Wells Reclamation 01749 677087

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