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CASE STUDY THE SECOND ACT


Howard Reay and Amber Valentine both worked in TV and film, but this didn’t prepare them for the drama of their own journey to creating a grand home in Buckinghamshire. Roseanne Field reports


THIS PAGE


The entrance features 6.5 metre high glass


FACING PAGE


The bespoke kitchen leads out to a pond, which reflects light into the room


LOW POINT


The flooding of the lower level only a week after moving in


T


ucked away up a steep lane in the Buckinghamshire village of Hedsor, just north of Maidenhead, is Amber Valentine and Howard Reay’s strikingly modern, three- storey home.


Having worked in the TV and film business, they have since made successful second careers in property and interiors. They couldn’t be happier with their appropriately ‘designer’ des res, but the story of how they got here is straight out of a drama.


Amber and Howard own and run two businesses – Amber Valentine Interiors sells luxury bespoke furniture, while for their other venture, Zodiac Design, they design, build and furnish new build houses.


Their combined skills make them the perfect team when it comes to getting projects just right – Amber is an interior designer, while Howard undertakes the building design.


He says he has often found himself having to revise architect’s drawings where they were lacking in information. “I found I’d done so many corrections I’d think I should just start again,” he says. “I knew what I wanted to do and my father’s an architect so I thought, ‘let’s just do it from scratch.’”


20 www.sbhonline.co.uk


Despite the substantial nature of the design they were pleasantly surprised to encounter no snags gaining planning permission


He took a month out and taught himself how to use CAD. “I’d sit there for 10 hours a day just working out how to do one thing, but then eventually it started to slot into place,” he says.


A TEAR-JERKER OF AN OPENING Unfortunately, no matter how good your team, things don’t always go to plan. The story began with Amber and Howard deciding to harness their abilities and build a home for them and their three daughters. “We built a forever home,” says Howard. “It was exactly what we wanted.”


Around the same time, they had built another march/april 2018


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