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LOW POINT


On the whole there were no negative experiences in the build. But Ken admits convincing the architect to go with the black render was a challenge. “There was a lot of um-ing and ah-ing with the architect,” he says. “Now nobody could imagine it any other way.”


beyond. The bathroom itself is finished in dark local slate, while an old sewing machine stand already owned by the family has been repurposed to hold the sink. “My wife and I have been dragging this old sewing table around for 20 years and have finally found a home for it,” Ken explains.


The idea, says Ken, is that the master suite can double as a self-contained hideaway for the parents. “Our kids are going to start taking this place over, and we can shut ourselves off in this room.”


At the moment, their three children have their own playrooms – and each bedroom has been designed with its young occupant in mind. Their son Leo’s love of the Narnia Chronicles inspired a secret doorway through his wardrobe (past faux fur coats, of course) into the adjoining bedroom. He also has a cabin bed accessed by a ladder where he can stare out at the view through a perfectly positioned porthole window. A second bedroom for their daughter Ella


features an en suite bathroom that’s home to a silver ‘bateau’ bath and walls papered in pages from Alice in Wonderland, made during a muck-up day at school. Her sister Scarlet’s room features a four-poster bed created by scaffolding poles.


Part of the wow factor of Barford is the


incredible attention to detail that self-builds can sometimes lack, as finance and inexperience can lead to mistakes. I find myself stopping to admire the perfect tiling in the en suite bathrooms, the careful positioning


september/october 2017


of the brass portholes that offer sea views from the beds and bathrooms, and carefully chosen accessories that reflect the family’s tastes. Perhaps there is no better space to reflect this taste than the downstairs rooms where the old cellar is now home to a sauna and cinema room (which features a 4K projector and a vintage cinema ‘What’s On’ show time board). “I’m hoping to change it each time we play a film,” explains Ken, who was responsible for tracking it down. From here you can access (through a secret tunnel) the bunker. This secret underground games room/bar with leather banquette seating, retro arcade games – including the original Star Wars game – and a classic pinball machine that Ken used to play in the 1990s. Above the bar sits gold lettering declaring ‘Pleasureland’ – itself an eBay find by Ken. “It’s totally over the top,” he admits of the room, which is also decorated with hundreds of tins of food – in case of emergency. “The kids and I have a thing of what we would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse. So we went along the theme of a bunker. There’s a sound system, a bar with a sink and a fridge, a pool table and a banquette built into the retaining wall.


At a cost of £1.2m, the family have had to


recoup the cost through letting it as a luxury rental but they have refused to compromise on making the house and its contents are a reflection of their own tastes. This is a forever home for the Aylmers, even if it’s not currently a permanent one. 


www.sbhonline.co.uk 27


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