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Tommy Walsh's
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Planning for retirement with Potton

 

Background

When Dave and Barbara Jenkins Planning started to plan ahead for an early retirement they decided on move to Dorset, with a totally bespoke new Potton home that would meet their needs as they changed over the years.

They’ve lived in their Hertfordshire housing since 1981, and Barbara’s involvement with a large build project provided the impetus for building a home for themselves.

“My job leading a hospital transformation programme involved a great deal of new build and that's when I realised how exciting it would be to build our own home,” says Barbara.

Delivery

The couple decided on the village of Bradpole, West Dorset, as their preferred destination, but finding a plot in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty proved difficult. Eventually the Jenkins found a bungalow on a secluded 1.25 acre plot with far reaching country views, and decided on a knock-down-and-build route. Enquiries at the planning office about replacing the bungalow were positive, so they purchased the property in 2013.

As the couple were based in Hertfordshire, they visited the Potton Show Centre in Cambridgeshire, having been recommended to visit by a colleague. “We knew we wanted to build a timber framed house and were excited to discover that Potton could design a totally bespoke, contemporary design home for our triangular plot.”

Sean Adams, Potton's Self Build & Planning Consultant for the South West, met Dave and Barbara at the old bungalow to discuss their needs. And key to this was future proofing the new home, so that they could continue living there well into old age, even if their situation changed.

To this end, they created a self-contained ground-floor annex, with its own kitchen, lounge, bedroom and en-suite. This space makes welcome, but private guest accommodation for visiting family and friends, but which is flexible enough to house a carer or enable the couple to live downstairs should assisted living ever become necessary.
“We wanted this house to see us out" says Barbara. "Everything we need is on the ground floor, with easy wheelchair access, and enough room for a live-in carer, should we need one.”

The couple retained the existing L-shaped bungalow footprint, but a storey design has practically doubled the size of their living space, creating a four bedroomed home with a feature galleried hallway.

The timber framed house is clad with crisp ash-white render and topped with grey Spanish roof slates, with a plinth of locally-quarried Blue Lias stone as a nod to the vernacular.

Windows and bi-folding doors are framed in anthracite aluminium with timber linings internally, and the rear of the house opens onto a large south facing terrace.

“The house is completely different from the surrounding properties, but the planners didn't have an issue with that at all. Potton’s input with this really helped with the planning process, and they knew what would be acceptable and what wouldn’t.”

Work started with the demolition of the bungalow in February 2015 and local Potton approved contractors, Acorn House Ltd, were contracted for the project. New beam and block foundations created a base, with Potton erecting the timber frame, while the doors and windows were installed by a specialist company. This included triple glazing to the northern aspect to help minimise heating loss. The builders undertook all other elements of the project, which was completed in eleven months.

“We didn't do anything physical work ourselves but were involved with choosing everything and ordered items like our oak staircase and internal doors through Potton,” says Barbara. "There's underfloor heating throughout, and we have solar water panels mounted on the roof, with solar PVs on the garage for electricity. 
The house is well sealed, with a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MVHR) system means the air is always fresh and there’s a dedicated plant room for all the equipment."

Designing and building their own home meant that Dave and Barbara could include personal details which make all the difference.
“It's the planning stage which is so important, to avoid making alterations later.”

Finance

Land Cost: £425,000 with existing bungalow
Build Cost: £478,000 

Timescale

Demoltion started in Feb 2015
Work was completed by January 2016

Learning Points

Getting things right at the planning stage avoids costly mistakes later. 

Related Links

Contractor: Acorn House Ltd