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.  27

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68