Grand Designs water tower home is put on the market
Astunning home on stilts with unrivalled views across open countryside is on the market.
The Water Tower in Rolvenden is the home of Bruno and Denise Del Tufo, who transformed the unpromising concrete structure at the bottom of their garden into a glass-clad home that won plaudits from Grand Designs’ presenter Kevin McCloud.
Having branded it “an ugly brute of a building” at first sight, Kevin later described the glass and zinc creation that became the Del Tufo’s home, as one of his top three projects from the entire show.
It’s now on the market through upmarket London estate agent KnightFrank for £895,000.
Bruno, 68, says that practicalities are behind the decision to say goodbye to their dream home as they contemplate full retirement. “The house is a delight to live in but it’s better to move while we can and before we have to,” said Bruno.
“We’ve had an immense amount of pleasure from the house but we can either carry on in our dotage and be carried out of it, or let someone else write the next chapter. It’s like handing over a baton.”
The couple first bought a Victorian cottage, West Lodge, on the land and at the time their solicitor suggested they might research the water tower at the end of their garden if they hadn’t already knocked it down.
It transpired the tower was designed by acclaimed architect Edwin Lutyens, the creator of the Cenotaph in London, to supply water to the adjacent Great Maytham Hall, and that the setting was the inspiration for the children’s classic The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Bruno, a retired sculptor and visiting teacher of visually impaired children and his wife Denise, 62, an antiques dealer, decided to sell West Lodge and in 2005 embarked on creating their future home.
They had come across the work of Tunbridge Wells architect Derek Briscoe and appointed him after admiring his transformation of a concrete bunker in Chislehurst.
The concrete water tower before it was transformed and surrounded by scaffolding while the Del Tufos endured a bitter winter in their caravan during the building project
The Water Tower in its full splendour