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
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