Sail­ing Into the Fu­ture

Mark and Fiona Col­lier de­cided the best way to en­sure the fu­ture of a home owned by the fam­ily for gen­er­a­tions was to knock it down and start again — the re­sult is a six bed­room house with stun­ning sea views

Homebuilding & Renovating - - Contents -

A con­tem­po­rary self-build, built us­ing lo­cal ma­te­ri­als, re­places a 1920s bun­ga­low on a stun­ning coastal plot in Corn­wall

The Floor­plans

“We wanted to ex­ploit the fan­tas­tic cliff-top po­si­tion,” says Mark, who, along with his wife Fiona, de­cided to put that in­cred­i­ble sea view at the heart of their de­sign. The kitchen is a key area, as they spend a lot of time there and pre­vi­ously, it faced the drive­way to the rear. By open­ing up that en­tire kitchen/din­ing/liv­ing space there are views of the sea from two dif­fer­ent as­pects. The sep­a­rate sit­ting room on the top floor, known as the ‘up­per deck’, has the most com­mand­ing views of all.

It’s not just the liv­ing spa­ces that have re­ceived care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion for pro­por­tion and ori­en­ta­tion, how­ever. Down­stairs, in the bed­rooms on the lower ground floor, Mark says: “It’s like be­ing in a pas­sen­ger liner.”

The cou­ple had to make one small change to their plans, which was the po­si­tion of an ex­ter­nal stair­case. Orig­i­nally they had placed it in the cen­tre of the prop­erty, but Mark and Fiona re­alised this made lit­tle sense and moved it to one side dur­ing the build.


Main con­trac­tor Nova Con­struc­tion: no­va­con­struc­ Ar­chi­tect San­ders Ar­chi­tects: san­der-ar­chi­ Scaf­fold­ing M & M Scaf­fold­ing: mandm­scaf­fold­ Tim­ber frame Perkins & Perry: perkin­sand­ Roof struc­ture in­stal­la­tion Chirg­win & Re­nouf: chirg­win-re­ Roof slates and in­stal­la­tion Hori­zon Roof­ing: hori­zon-roof­ Wa­ter­proof­ing Tim­ber­wise: tim­ber­ Steel­work He­waswa­ter En­gi­neer­ing: he­waswa­ Win­dows Velfac: Elec­tri­cal work CWC Elec­tri­cal: cwc­elec­tri­ Plumb­ing Jose & Black­ler: jose­and­black­ In­ter­nal stair­case Mar­nick Builders: mar­ Plas­ter­ing C & P Plas­ter­ing: cp­plas­ter­ Paint­ing Wil­liams & Martin: wil­ Kitchen How­dens: how­ Paving Cur­tis Paving: cur­tispaving­corn­ Tar­mac E. Roberts Con­trac­tors: er­obert­ Handrails Mid Corn­wall Me­tal Fabri­ca­tions: mid­corn­wall­met­ Flat roof un­der bal­cony Western Flat Roof­ing: west­ern­fla­troof­ Til­ing Peter Jones & Sons: tiling­corn­ Garage door South West Garage Doors:

The de­ci­sion to tear down a home that has been in a fam­ily for half a cen­tury is not one that is ar­rived at lightly. For Mark and Fiona Col­lier, it was some­thing that could only be con­firmed with the bless­ing of Mark’s par­ents.

The fam­ily’s con­nec­tion to the house in Gor­ran Haven, Corn­wall, dates to 1966, when Mark’s un­cle bought it. In 1976, Mark’s par­ents took own­er­ship, mov­ing in per­ma­nently af­ter Mark’s fa­ther re­tired in 1986. Five years ago, Mark and Fiona took the house on, but it was poorly suited for mod­ern liv­ing: “It had sin­gle block walls, no wall in­su­la­tion and the fact it hadn’t been lived in for a while had ex­ac­er­bated the damp prob­lem,” be­gins Mark. “It was be­gin­ning to fall apart at the seams.”

The prop­erty was a coastal bun­ga­low on the highly pho­to­genic Rose­land Penin­sula in south Corn­wall and Mark had orig­i­nally considered ren­o­va­tion, but feared he would be do­ing more works in the fu­ture. So the de­ci­sion was made to de­mol­ish and re­build.

The De­sign

“Our brief was to cre­ate a home from home we could pass on, tak­ing full ad­van­tage of the sea view,” says Mark. “We also wanted to fu­ture­proof it as much as pos­si­ble, utilise new eco tech­nol­ogy and in­crease the size, so it could ac­com­mo­date two fam­i­lies at a time.” De­spite the lengthy brief, Mark and his wife Fiona de­signed the new house them­selves, be­fore pass­ing it onto an ar­chi­tect to draw up the for­mal plans.

The Col­liers’ ideas of in­cor­po­rat­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal tech­nol­ogy, choos­ing a de­sign in keep­ing with the lo­cal ver­nac­u­lar and us­ing lo­cal ma­te­ri­als went down well with the lo­cal planning depart­ment, de­spite the in­crease in size to 340m2 from around 220m2. “The foot­print isn’t that dif­fer­ent,” ex­plains Mark. “We just went up a floor and put four bed­rooms on the lower ground floor.”

As they live in London, Mark and Fiona chose lo­cal Cor­nish firm Nova Con­struc­tion as the main con­trac­tors, with Nova re­spon­si­ble for sourc­ing sub­con­trac­tors, sup­pli­ers and ma­te­ri­als. The Col­liers tried to visit the site at least ev­ery fort­night — a nec­es­sary evil due to a pun­ish­ing 10-hour round trip. “Go­ing on site is es­sen­tial,” Mark ad­mits. “There is no way to get a more ac­cu­rate pic­ture.”

It wasn’t just the Col­liers who found it tricky to get on site, how­ever. The home’s lo­ca­tion, ac­cessed via nar­row coun­try roads, caused havoc for de­liv­ery driv­ers. This meant some sec­tions of the tim­ber frame were con­structed on site, with steel also used in parts. The lower level is ma­sonry, with ex­te­rior cladding in lo­cal stone from the Tre­carne Rus­tic Stone

Quarry at nearby De­labole, while the up­per level is tim­ber frame, with a ren­dered block ex­te­rior skin.

The tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als con­tinue on the roof, where the slate is in keep­ing with most Cor­nish homes, al­though Mark shelved plans to also lay slate on the ter­race, once he re­alised how slip­pery it would be. He opted in­stead for the com­pos­ite resin prod­uct Mill­board, which looks like tim­ber deck­ing, but is anti-slip and has ex­cel­lent weath­er­proof­ing prop­er­ties.

Inside, the high-qual­ity fin­ishes con­tinue, with com­pos­ite wood and alu­minium win­dows from Velfac, which Mark chose on the rec­om­men­da­tion of his con­trac­tor. The floors through­out are pre-fin­ished en­gi­neered oak, suit­able for use with the un­der­floor heat­ing.

The home’s hot wa­ter de­mand is pro­vided by an air source heat pump. As with so many prop­er­ties in Corn­wall, mains gas is not avail­able in the vil­lage. Mark and Fiona didn’t want oil and, fol­low­ing a neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ence with a ground source heat pump pre­vi­ously, were keen to try an air source heat pump.

Al­though cheaper than oil, LPG or elec­tric­ity, air source heat pumps can be more ex­pen­sive than mains gas with a mod­ern boiler. Mark, how­ever, is pleased with the pump’s per­for­mance. “It’s still early days, but so far so good. It works ef­fi­ciently and is re­li­able,

un­like the old boiler we had. And we don’t have to worry about re­fill­ing the oil tank that we used to have in the gar­den.”

Though the oil tank may have gone, ele­ments of the orig­i­nal house have been re­cy­cled in the new house. Vic­to­rian tiles have been reused as colour­ful splash­backs in the bath­rooms, while orig­i­nal hand-blown glass doors have been used in the porch and, per­haps most strik­ingly, the orig­i­nal tran­som from a Cor­nish Crab­ber is af­fixed to the wall of the ‘up­per deck’ liv­ing room.

This el­e­gant six-bed home now has a pleas­ing mar­itime feel and makes the most of those amaz­ing sea views from all three floors. With two sit­ting rooms in ad­di­tion to the open plan kitchen diner, the new house has more than enough space for those lazy sum­mer hol­i­days with the ex­tended fam­ily. “The real high point was re­al­is­ing that we’ve done it,” says Mark. “Our vi­sion has been re­alised and it’s lovely to go into a home that works.” H

Words Alexan­dra Pratt Pho­tog­ra­phy c/o Unique Home Stays

Home Com­forts The home’s main heat­ing source is un­der­floor heat­ing, pow­ered by an air source heat pump, but it’s com­ple­mented by wood­burn­ing stoves (one of whic h is shown, above) in the liv­ing spa­ces.

In­ter­nally, the en­gi­neered wood floors, nau­ti­cal style light­ing and tremen­dous sea views give the im­pres­sion of be­ing on a boat. All the main liv­ing ar­eas and bed­rooms take ad­van­tage of the prop­erty’s front-line po­si­tion on the Cor­nish coast.

Naval In­spi­ra­tion

Open Plan Spa­ces The kitchen is from How­dens and its clean lines work per­fectly in this mod­ern home. The open plan liv­ing/din­ing area is cen­tred around the ex­pan­sive views out to sea. A dwarf wall be­tween the kitchen and din­ing area sep­a­rates the two spa

Re­flect­ing the Views The bath­rooms ( above) are given a dash of colour and some char­ac­ter with the re-use of orig­i­nal Vic­to­rian wall tiles. The bed­room makes the most of the en­vi­able sea views and con­tin­ues the nau­ti­cal theme of the home.

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