This decision did inevitably limit the number of rooms achievable upstairs, but with so much space to play with there are still five bedrooms in the main house and an additional one bedroom self-contained flat. The main entrance hall opens into an impressive living space, overlooked by a gallery, and featuring a double height window onto the garden.
The planning process proved long-winded, as the planners wanted one external wall of the existing house to be retained, which may have prevented the project being considered a new build for VAT purposes. “Keeping one wall would have made oak framing virtually possible, but in the end we managed to overturn the decision,” says Mike.
By now the family had been living in the existing house for almost three and a half years and were itching to set to work on building its replacement. “We moved out and rented for eighteen months,” says Viv, who compiled a large leather-bound picture book documenting the whole build process from start to finish, beginning with the demolition of the old house and including photos of many of the tradesmen.
An existing railway tunnel runs along one edge of the Edwards’ nine acre plot, which had caused vibrations in the previous property. Mike researched the problem and sourced anti-vibration matting, which sits on top of the foundations and provided an expensive but effective solution.
ERECTING THE TIMBER FRAME
Watching the Oakwrights team erecting the oak frame proved to be an exciting stage in the build as the huge timbers were lifted into position and traditionally jointed and pegged in place. The crane was visible for miles around and the enormous frame took twelve weeks to construct, after which a building contractor completed the project.
“Although I’d been involved with, and sometimes project managed, building various projects for clients in the past, I’d never done anything on this scale for myself. It put quite a bit of pressure on me when I thought about how this would be a home I’d live in for the rest of my life. As a professional interior designer, I needed to get it just right from the onset,” says Viv.
“It helped to have Mike concentrate on the exterior so I could focus all my energy on the interior”. The amount of choice was overwhelming and we lived and breathed this project, but we never plan to move house again and were determined to get everything right. Even now, after living here for seven years, I still get a buzz when we arrive home.”