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The three-storey house has a terraced design in response to the sloping site


HIGH POINT


Sitting out on a balcony watching the sunset


whole process had to be repeated. “There was a huge amount of money, plus months spent,” says Amber. “It really screwed up our schedule.” Because of the slope, they had to excavate and insert a retaining wall. “It’s 12 ft high, a huge piece of engineering,” Howard explains. “For six weeks we built nothing but the wall, leaving us with a big flat site.”


Although these factors meant the project suffered a small hiatus after the demolition of the old house, once building work began everything accelerated. In fact, the build of the house itself took 10 months.


CASTING THE RIGHT PEOPLE


The couple assigned themselves strictly defined roles. “We’ve worked together for the last 10 years full-time and we have to have set roles,” says Amber. “I’m project manager, I deal with all the budgets and I deal with all the trades – hiring them, organising where they work and getting all materials, but I’m not allowed to discuss detail!” This type of role suits her, she says – she worked as a location manager in the film industry before launching into business; Howard was a director in TV.


Amber would designate a floor of the house to a particular trade, allowing them to sometimes have 15 people working onsite on a given day – significantly contributing to the


march/april 2018


“My obsession is sightlines. You’ll find that the centre of a window is exactly in line with the centre of a doorway”


speed at which the project was completed. Their experience in previous projects was key, as they could apply lessons learned. “Something I’m particularly keen on is that it doesn’t change from the drawing,” says Howard. “There has to be a really good reason to deviate, because in my experience it always goes wrong.” He explains further: “When a decision is made onsite in 10 minutes with people making noise, you can’t really know what the implications are.” Aside from a few additional light fittings, Amber and Howard’s house is identical to the initial drawings he prepared.


THE TEMPEST


Unfortunately, one last bit of drama stood in their way before their big finale. The couple had to move in slightly earlier than they had hoped,


www.sbhonline.co.uk 23


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