they find something’s not quite as they expected they don’t bring that back to you or ask for more money.” The couple told the company at the start of the project roughly how much they wanted to spend, who from the plans then estimated a cost breakdown. The budget was fixed and stuck to, but Rachel believes that working within constraints has helped the designers to be creative. “We don’t feel as if we’ve compromised,” she says.

When it came to the house’s design, Lee and Rachel only had a couple of key requirements – they knew they wanted an open-plan layout and Rachel was adamant that she didn’t want big pillars interrupting the glazing. The construc- tion was largely designed around that principle, with the majority of the glass being supported by the steel frame and internal concrete supporting walls. The longest glass wall has just two slim, solid pillars for added support. “Simon totally listened,” Rachel says.

The house is larger than they had anticipated – they gained planning permission for a 4,000 ft2

house but at

the time didn’t realise that any space below ground doesn’t count towards the square footage, so long as there’s

november/december 2017


Make sure you get on with your architect/builder “Go with your instincts to a certain extent, as to who you get on with, because getting on with that person is key, as is maintaining a good relationship.”

Get your finances in check and ensure everyone’s on the same page “I’m very financially focused and if we’d worked with somebody that we’d constantly been having to nail down on costs it would have put a lot of pressure on us and on our relationship with the builder.”

Have faith in them “Trust their expertise!”

no access. Taking into account the basement space, which includes storage rooms, a gym, and an office/music room for Lee, the house totals 5,000 ft2


The basement also houses the incred- ibly neat yet complex pipework for the underfloor heating. “A lot of people admire the pipework!” Rachel says. “It’s a reflection of the quality and the way they wanted to the job. Everything had to be as immaculate as it could be.” One large central feature wall, running next to the stairs from the ground floor to the basement, has a polished concrete finish – an idea suggested by Architecturall. “They’d not done polished concrete before and

actually ended up doing it three times to get it right,” says Rachel. “They wanted to do everything perfectly.” The section of original wall that runs through the house was knocked down and rebuilt with reclaimed bricks which were also used to help build the pitched roof part of the house. This meant builders chipping the old mortar off brick by brick before rebuilding it with new mortar – which the contractors precisely matched to the original.


Even when it came to the finishes and finer details, Rachel and Lee left much of the decision-making to Simon and 11

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