Spot the odd one out... a ter­race which opens up new pos­si­bil­i­ties

This low-cost ter­raced house is the per­fect live- work prop­erty. Deb­bie Jef­fery re­ports. Pic­tures by Jeremy Phillips.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - FRONT PAGE -

NOWA­DAYS we har­bour high as­pi­ra­tions when it comes to our homes, but not ev­ery­one can af­ford to fund those dreams.

Tom and Emily Hunt were no dif­fer­ent from other young mar­ried cou­ples look­ing for their ideal home to­gether, with a mod­est bud­get and high hopes.

But their ter­raced house in Sh­effield boasts rather more bells and whis­tles than the av­er­age home, de­spite cost­ing only £139,000 to build.

“We mar­ried in 2007 and wanted to buy a house in Sh­effield,” ex­plains Tom. “The end-ter­race prop­erty we chose had a large drive­way to one side, which had once con­tained two other ter­raced houses. These were con­demned and de­mol­ished in the 1970s, but we hoped to get plan­ning con­sent to build some­thing else on the land.”

The cou­ple moved into their new home, which also dou­bled as an of­fice for Tom’s bur­geon­ing me­dia prod­ucts busi­ness.

Grad­u­ally, as staff in­creased, the busi­ness took over two of the three bed­rooms and the need for larger, ded­i­cated premises be­came press­ing.

“We were out on a bike ride in the spring of 2009 when we passed an amaz­ing con­tem­po­rary house be­side a listed Nor­man abbey,” says Emily, an econ­o­mist.

“Such a dis­tinc­tive new house in a sen­si­tive Con­ser­va­tion Area made us be­lieve it could be pos­si­ble to build some­thing re­ally dif­fer­ent our­selves on the land that came with our ex­ist­ing house.”

In­spired by what they had seen, the Hunts posted a note through the door, ask­ing who had de­signed the three-storey prop­erty. In re­turn they re­ceived an email putting them in touch with Hal­l­i­day Clark Ar­chi­tects in Brad­ford.

“We ex­plained that we wanted to build some­thing smaller, in a sim­i­lar style and for a much lower bud­get, and Adam Clark was ex­tremely ex­cited about the idea,” says Tom.

In Novem­ber 2009, a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion was sub­mit­ted for a geo­met­ric three storey end ter­race, de­signed to com­ple­ment the streetscape with­out em­u­lat­ing neigh­bour­ing turn-ofthe-cen­tury brick ter­races and 1980s houses.

This was achieved by match­ing the red brick­work of sur­round­ing prop­er­ties and choos­ing a dark stain for the Siberian larch cladding, so the house ef­fc­tively melts into the wood­land back­drop to the rear of the plot.

“We were in love with the idea of cre­at­ing some­thing com­pletely unique and orig­i­nally wanted grey ren­der to the ground floor with con­trast­ing white ren­der above, which the plan­ners wouldn’t ap­prove,” says Tom.

“Adam made six com­put­erised mock-ups of the ex­te­rior with dif­fer­ent coloured wood and ren­der op­tions. There was no con­test and we all chose the same one. The de­sign only re­ceived one ob­jec­tion and was ap­proved al­most im­me­di­ately.”

Clever use of a tight foot­print was made by ex­ca­vat­ing back into the hill­side to form an ex­ter­nal yard/bike store, and by cre­at­ing a roof gar­den and bal­conies to fur­ther in­crease the out­door ar­eas.

A build­ing contractor was em­ployed to build the house us­ing the Kingspan­tek sys­tem of struc­tural in­su­lated pan­els (SIPS) and the main shell was erected in just two weeks. The prop­erty has been built to Level 4 of the Code for Sus­tain­able Homes, achiev­ing an ex­tremely low over­all U-value and high air­tight­ness rat­ing.

Win­dow and door frames are ther­mally ef­fi­cient alu­minium, and the scheme in­cor­po­rates me­chan­i­cal ven­ti­la­tion with heat re­cov­ery (MVHR) which when com­bined with the highly ef­fi­cient wood­burn­ing stove in the main liv­ing space, means that Tom and Emily rarely need any ad­di­tional heat­ing, even in win­ter.

The three storey end-of-ter­race house has a be­d­room, bathroom, util­ity room and a self-con­tained of­fice for Tom’s busi­ness Breed Me­dia on the ground floor. Two en­trances en­sure that the live and work el­e­ments of the build­ing can be kept sep­a­rate. Stairs lead up to the open plan liv­ing/ din­ing/kitchen space at first floor level with fold­ing slid­ing doors open­ing the en­tire rear wall out to an ex­ter­nal ter­race.

The top floor con­tains Emily and Tom’s be­d­room, which ben­e­fits from bal­conies to the front and rear. A fur­ther stair­case leads up to a roof ter­race with a built-in bench mak­ing the most of the limited out­door space.

The ini­tial bud­get was £80,000, which may have been pos­si­ble if they had opted for a con­ven­tional house.

“It soon be­came ap­par­ent we would have to re-think costs. For­tu­nately we al­ready owned the land, which may have cost around £60,000 to pur­chase with­out plan­ning per­mis­sion,” says Tom who spent £139,000 on the project, which took seven months to com­plete.

While the con­struc­tion work was on-go­ing, the cou­ple were able to con­tinue liv­ing in their house next door, which has since been rented out.

This made party wall agree­ments sim­ple, although they did ex­pe­ri­ence a cer­tain amount of up­heaval. A flue needed to be re­lo­cated to the rear to al­low the new house to abut the gable end. This meant installing a new boiler, which in turn burst all the ra­di­a­tors.

“It was prob­a­bly the most stress­ful pe­riod of my life be­cause I was run­ning the busi­ness and also mak­ing a huge num­ber of day to day de­ci­sions about the build,” says Tom.

“At least we know that it was all in a good cause, and now the house is fin­ished we’ve teamed up with Adam Clark to of­fer sim­i­lar live/work designs to oth­ers. It’s an af­ford­able con­cept for in­ner city liv­ing, and has trans­formed a piece of unloved land into a sus­tain­able home we’re proud to live in.”

SOME­THING DIF­FER­ENT: The house took seven months to build and is con­structed from struc­tural in­su­lated pan­els clad with larch. It is now both a home and an of­fice for Tom.

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