A BEAUTIFUL TIMBER FRAMED BARN STYLE HOUSE IN ESSEX
When Martin and Kelly Guest bought the property which now sits next door to their self-build, they had no idea of the potential they were about to unlock. “It was marketed as one property by the agents,” explains Martin. “It had, at times, been subdivided into two and, at other times, it had been used as just one house. We had planned to live in one part and rent out the other, but until we saw the deeds, we hadn’t realised that what we were buying in 2001 was legally two separate dwellings.” Initially they thought nothing of this; it took some time for them to appreciate that they had purchased a site where a replacement dwelling was a possibility —and one where they could stay in their existing home whilst the building work was undertaken.
In 2003, they approached a local architect, Clive Richardson, and together put in an application to demolish one of their two properties and build a large house in the grounds. The planners seemed surprisingly relaxed about this and were happy to accept a 30% enlargement — and as the site is quite isolated, there were no neighbours to object. So instead of getting involved in a lengthy planning battle, they simply had to decide what to build on this site.
Martin had spent many years working as a carpenter and had already decided that this was a site suitable for an oak framed house, and they initially put in a design for a Dutch barn-style house with a mansard roof. This was the one feature the planners didn’t appreciate and so they resubmitted plans with a more conventional pitched roof. With planning permission granted, they were ready to start, but first needed to sell one of the houses they had bought back in 2001 in order to float the project. This held matters up as there was a dispute over a shared access arrangement which took nine months to resolve.