WORTH THE WAIT

Build­ing their Rut­land house meant tak­ing on a huge project for one couple, but they are now reap­ing the re­wards of all their ef­forts

25 Beautiful Homes - - NEWS - FEA­TURE Aman­der meade | Pho­tog­ra­phy rachael Smith

When Louise Crowle and her hus­band Alis­tair wanted to move house, they were in­trigued by a dated 1970s bun­ga­low in Rut­land with a large plot. So, with builder Richard Barnes, they viewed the site. ‘Richard tested the foun­da­tions and they were suf­fi­cient to build a two-storey house,’ says Louise. ‘Hav­ing a free hand to re­de­velop the prop­erty was key to our de­ci­sion to buy.’

Work­ing with an ar­chi­tect, the couple be­gan a wish list. ‘ We have three chil­dren, Tilly, 14, Poppy, 12, and Fin­lay, 9, so we wanted each to have their own de­cent-sized bed­room with an en suite,’ says Louise. A large kitchen-diner was also a pri­or­ity.

The bun­ga­low was de­mol­ished to make way for a new fam­ily home and the Crowles moved in with Louise’s par­ents as work be­gan. The build­ing work was due to take nine months, but brown long-eared bats were found nest­ing in the roof and all work had to cease while the couple ac­quired a bat li­cence. ‘ We also had to make the loft space big­ger for the bats,’ says Louise. ‘It ended up tak­ing 18 months. We wanted to do the right thing for the bats, but it was frus­trat­ing.’

De­spite this, the couple say plan­ning the prop­erty from scratch had huge ad­van­tages. It meant Louise could in­clude plenty of stor­age. ‘ We cre­ated re­cessed cup­boards on both floors and matched their doors to the oth­ers in the house for con­ti­nu­ity,’ she says.

Louise de­scribes her in­te­rior style as con­tem­po­rary, with a nod to Scandi chic. Tones of grey are used as a base pal­ette, with colour added through ac­ces­sories. In a home filled with chil­dren, Louise planned in some prac­ti­cal mea­sures, too. ‘ We painted the walls white, which are sim­ple to touch up should scuffs oc­cur,’ she says. ‘ We also laid vinyl tile floor­ing with a limed oak ef­fect on the ground floor, which is easy to keep clean.’

‘We’d rec­om­mend the self-build process de­spite the chal­lenges,’ re­flects Louise. ‘It’s em­pow­er­ing to con­trol how your house is laid out and we love its in­di­vid­u­al­ity.’

fi­nal word ‘Build­ing our own house means that this is the first home where Alis­tair, who’s tall, doesn’t have to duck to avoid light fit­tings’

KITCHEN-DINER Louise wanted a sleek, stream­lined look with no cup­board han­dles, so th­ese soft- close doors are an ideal choice. Soho kitchen units, price on ap­pli­ca­tion, bench­marx. oslo pen­dants, £40 each, next

NE W BUI LD home truths THE PROP­ERTY new-build house LO­CA­TION rut­land ROOMS hall, sit­ting room, kitchen-diner, study, util­ity room, cloak­room, five bed­rooms (all en suite) PUR­CHASED 2014 PRE­VI­OUS PROP­ERTY ‘ We lived in a de­tached house in northamp­ton­shire,’ says louise.

DIN­ING AREA A mag­ne­tised rab­bit wall­pa­per panel adds a light-hearted touch to this fam­ily space. try the rab­bit print mag­netic wall­pa­per by Sis­ters guild, £64.50, No­ton­the­high­street.com

KITCHEN-DINER Mis­matched chairs cre­ate a re­laxed, laid-back feel in this bright and airy spot. the Mad­sen ex­tend­ing ta­ble, £ 499, Next, is sim­i­lar

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