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as their rental had come to an end. “The house wasn’t quite finished – the classic story,” Howard explains. “There were no lights working downstairs, so it was still a building site on the lower floor – it was piled high with materials and nothing was really finished.”


The roofer also hadn’t quite completed his work, but told the couple that despite some small details to finish it was ‘kind of watertight’. However one ‘detail’ he hadn’t finished was “opening up the holes to the downpipes,” says Howard. They discovered this during a big storm when their daughter awoke to find water coming into her bedroom. “I was up on the roof in the storm trying to work out what had gone wrong. I couldn’t see because it was dark but it was definitely filling with water,” says Howard. They put towels down and tried to sleep, but after continued alarm from the cat, Amber followed him down to the lower floor. “I found


24 www.sbhonline.co.uk


water coming through every single light fitting,” she says. The house had been painted by this point, but there was “four inches of water covering the whole of the ground floor.” They spent the rest of the night trying to push as much water out the doors as they could, including Amber’s parents coming to the rescue with mops and buckets. Despite everyone’s best efforts, they were convinced the floor would be ruined. “I was just thinking that’s it, that’s £15,000 worth of floor that’s definitely destroyed,” grimaces Howard. However, they decided to hold off on replacing it and see how it went. Even though the floor had bowed, “it basically dried out and it’s fine, it’s still down there now!” Howard says. Incredibly, the only repair work that had to be done was repainting the 11 ceilings that had been damaged.


DESIGN & LAYOUT


Howard’s design for the house was actually largely based on a concept he had dreamed up eight years earlier. “I’d always had this idea of doing this tiered house with glass and balconies,” he says. A lot of the house’s features can be found across others they have built, such as extensive use of glass. “My obsession is sightlines. You’ll find that the centre of a window is exactly in line with the centre of a doorway and so on,” says Howard. “He’s never designed a house where you can’t open the front door and see straight through into the garden,” adds Amber.


The master bedroom has 10 mile balcony views


AMBER & HOWARD’S TOP TIPS


 Make sure you have everything designed and planned before you start. “When you’re building it, you just don’t have the time,” says Amber. “The process is only stressful if you haven’t done the work beforehand.”


 Give yourself time to process the designs. “Let it settle,” says Howard. “After four or five weeks you’ll either love it or you’ll think ‘what was I thinking?’”


march/april 2018


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