Grand de­signs on stu­dio liv­ing

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Cover Story -

Here’s your chance to buy a piece of ar­chi­tec­tural his­tory, says Anna White

The prop­erty tick boxes for the typ­i­cal first-time buyer of­ten in­clude: mod cons, stor­age space, and good ac­cess to trans­port links. How­ever, for those who be­lieve a starter home is not nec­es­sar­ily syn­ony­mous with a new-build flat, or dream of liv­ing in an ar­chi­tec­tural mas­ter­piece, look no fur­ther than Dome House.

The 7,000 square foot eco man­sion, built un­der the watch­ful gaze of

view­ers and the team, is to be trans­formed into six stu­dios and apart­ments, with some priced to ap­peal to those tak­ing their first ten­ta­tive steps on the prop­erty lad­der.

Nes­tled on the hill­side over­look­ing Lake Win­der­mere, with ar­guably the best view in the Lake District, the seven-bed­room fam­ily home and lux­ury self-cater­ing guest house has been on the mar­ket (at £2.3m) for 18 months but is now to be turned into a unique com­plex of dwellings. “This will be the first Grand De­signs house to be reap­plied for this change from a sin­gle large dwelling to af­ford­able hous­ing,” says the owner and ar­chi­tect Robert Gaukroger. He sub­mit­ted the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion this week. Four of the homes will be clas­si­fied as af­ford­able – mean­ing peo­ple work­ing lo­cally can buy a stake of a flat or stu­dio – and two will be com­mer­cially priced.

Th­ese in­no­va­tive plans will come as no sur­prise to those who know the am­bi­tious cou­ple, Robert and his wife Milla Gaukroger, who built the en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly dome in 2009 to blend into the hill­side. The house can­not even be spied from the lake. The first floor gal­leried land­ing over­hangs the re­cep­tion hall below, which leads to the ground floor an­nex with a guest suite com­pris­ing of an open-plan bed­room, din­ing area and kitchen, bath­room and ac­cess to the gar­den. Si­t­u­ated just above the busy lit­tle town of Bow­ness, Gaukroger’s ge­o­desic roof de­sign was mar­velled at by Grand De­signs pre­sen­ter Kevin McCloud dur­ing the film­ing, who has de­scribed it as “awe in­spir­ing”. This site has panoramic views of Lake Win­der­mere, and an an­nex and guest ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The build­ing is clad in larch, while all the wooden floors are re­cy­cled. One room has floor­ing from an old to­bacco fac­tory in Lan­cashire.

The cou­ple first put the house on the mar­ket last Au­gust, and moved down to Lon­don with their two teenage chil­dren so Gaukroger could com­plete a post grad­u­ate qual­i­fi­ca­tion in Lon­don. But de­spite in­ter­est from a hedge fund which wanted to use it for cor­po­rate meet­ings, and a hand­ful of over­seas tro­phy hun­ters, it hasn’t sold.

“It’s not ev­ery­one’s cup of tea and mov­ing down to Lon­don has made me re­alise it’s an ob­scene waste of space for one fam­ily. I built it nurs­ing an ego,” Gaukroger says. “I don’t think we’ll be left with a great amount of money in our pock­ets but I just want to see it lived in.” A buyer pur­chas­ing a 50 per cent stake of the small­est unit will pay around £65,000, he es­ti­mates. In­ter­ested par­ties should con­tact [email protected]­gency.co.uk.

Room with a view: the open-plan kitchen with views over Lake Win­de­mere

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