DESIGN AND PLANNING
Unfortunately, the planning process was not to be as straightforward. “Initially we were turned down as the design was said to include ‘too much fenestration, be too imposing, and be seen from the footpath that runs behind the other side of the wall,” says Sue. “However, with the help of a planning consultant, plus backing from the local council, we were able to show – with the use of slides showing images of the old building and the proposed house – that the old house was actually taller than the new one, and plans were finally passed.”
Despite initially feeling it would be a waste of money to hire a project manager, thinking that the contractors should be able to sort it all out, Sue was persuaded by Ian to hire one. They chose Dave Duggan from Oakwrights Partner Builder, Oakland Vale. “He saved us his fee twice over—he handled everything so well,” Sue concedes.
The old house was bulldozed in just a day and a half, with Sue describing its construction as looking like nothing more than “matchsticks and cardboard”, and work on the new house began in May 2007.
The Pinks’ new house is three storeys, with a cellar housing Ian’s study and a utility room. On the ground floor, the large kitchen runs almost the entire depth of the house, with wraparound windows to one end where the breakfast area is located, taking full advantage of the views beyond. “I had done a great deal of research into kitchens before the build started,” says Sue. “I approached several companies and told them our budget – £35,000 – but it is amazing how many came back with quotes of up to around £20,000 more than this.” She eventually chose a design from Great British Kitchens, whose quote came in right on budget and matched her brief, with timber-faced units and a slate floor lending a country feel to the room.