The dream home that went £3m over bud­get

Cou­ple sue de­vel­op­ers af­ter grand de­sign ends up cost­ing £5mil­lion

Daily Mail - - News - By David Wilkes

THIS cus­tom-built curved home was sup­posed to be built in less than a year and only cost £2mil­lion to con­struct.

In­stead it took nearly ten years to build – and an eye-wa­ter­ing £5mil­lion in con­struc­tion costs.

Prop­erty fi­nancier Stu­art Rus­sell and his wife Naomi are now su­ing the hus­band and wife devel­oper team for £1.8mil­lion plus in­ter­est af­ter the plans for their dream home ended up cost­ing £3mil­lion more than they had hoped.

They claim Peter and his wife Linda Stone, who ad­vised them on the build in High­gate, North Lon­don, were to blame.

How­ever, the Stones, who worked for the Rus­sells as project man­ager and quan­tity sur­veyor be­tween 2008 and 2012, in­sist the own­ers were to blame.

They say the Rus­sells wasted money and caused de­lays by dither­ing over door han­dles, lava­tory roll hold­ers and other in­te­rior de­tails – and are mak­ing a counter-claim for around £20,000 in ‘un­paid fees’.

Mr Rus­sell, 62, de­fended the time he and his wife took choos­ing in­te­ri­ors, telling the judge at the High Court in Lon­don: ‘If you’d seen the house you’d un­der­stand this is not some Bar­ratt home. Deal­ing with curves in this way is so com­plex. It’s very dif­fi­cult to fit it to­gether.

‘What we wanted was our house to be our house with ev­ery­thing we wanted.’

He added: ‘ We started this project with a very clear brief.

‘It’s the de­tail in a room which de­cides whether it’s good or bad de­sign and we were try­ing to put that to­gether.

‘Ex­plain to me why you need to know what colour the walls are six months be­fore they are fin­ished? Some of the in­for­ma­tion seemed

to be needed quite early. I didn’t need to pro­vide a toi­let roll holder de­ci­sion for a wall that didn’t ex­ist.’ The house at the cen­tre of the le­gal bat­tle is on one of Lon­don’s most de­sir­able streets. The Rus­sells bought a home on the street for £ 3.65mil­lion in Au­gust 2006 and de­mol­ished it to make way for their dream home. The new de­tached house built by the Rus­sells has four bed­rooms, a swim­ming pool and land­scaped grounds. It is es­ti­mated by prop­erty web­site Zoopla to be worth £8mil­lion. The Stones, who live in a £1.2mil­lion flat in Kens­ing­ton, West Lon­don, worked on the Rus­sells’ project through their busi­ness, PSP Con­sul­tants, for three and a half years. 2012 They PSP af­ter is cou­ple, a a pro­fes­sional walk­out both by 61, builders. prac­tice quit in with high-end 29 years res­i­den­tial of ex­pe­ri­ence and com­mer­cial in prop­erty projects. The Rus­sells’ com­plaints fo­cus on events sur­round­ing the builders’ ‘with­drawal’ from the job. Mr Rus­sell said he and his wife should have been warned more clearly by PSP that the project was fac­ing melt­down. ‘It was one of the most un­pleas­ant cir­cum­stances of my life when my home, which I had hoped would be fin­ished by July 2011, was not fin­ished at all ex­cept for the con­crete,’ he added.

‘I was pay­ing all sorts of things while try­ing to re­cover the sit­u­a­tion. I’m not a pro­fes­sional.

‘It’s the pro­fes­sion­als who should have the fore­thought.’

Lynne McCaf­ferty QC, for the Stones, said the blame for the de­lay, the walk­out and the over­spend lay with the Rus­sells.

‘Late de­sign de­ci­sions be­dev­illed this project,’ she said, con­demn­ing the Rus­sells’ at­ti­tude as ‘un­re­al­is­tic and im­prac­ti­cal’.

She said the Stones ‘con­sis­tently ad­vised and warned Mr and Mrs Rus­sell that it was im­per­a­tive that they make de­sign de­ci­sions to en­able the build­ing works to progress and of the dan­gers should they fail to do so’.

She added: ‘They chose to ig­nore that ad­vice at the time and, all these years on, still seem un­able to un­der­stand those con­se­quences.’

She also told the court that the Stones have suf­fered per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally with this dis­pute hang­ing over them.

The hear­ing con­tin­ues.

Be­fore: Pre­vi­ous home was de­mol­ished Sleek: Dis­pute over the in­te­ri­ors De­lays: The unique home is on one of Lon­don’s most de­sir­able streets

Counter-su­ing: Peter Stone and his wife Linda

Su­ing: Stu­art Rus­sell and his wife Naomi

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