Peter: Watching the timber frame go up Debbie: Seeing the bungalow being crushed. I hated that bungalow!


The family kitchen/breakfast room at the back of the house was the key element driving the design


The master bedroom and its ensuite

pre-application in February to make sure everything would be OK, before submitting the final application in May and getting approval in August. “It wasn’t too drawn out, but there were a couple of make or break moments,” Peter says.

They had taken the plans round to show neighbours before submitting the application, and no-one had any issues – or so they thought. Once the application was in, one neighbour objected because the office above the garage would overlook her swimming pool. Peter jokes: “We did point out that there are no windows facing their property!” Nevertheless, the fact an objection had been submitted – even though it was dismissed – meant they were assigned a new case officer who had to start going through the plans from scratch.

They then realised there was a problem around how the planners were measuring their dimensions. “We were trying to tell them everyone in the housebuilding industry measures internal dimensions, but they were doing the external ones,” explains Peter. Taking these measurements put their property over East Hants District Council’s maximum of 400 m2

. “We had

two choices, we either put in a change or stick to our guns, wait for it to be refused and know that


we would win on appeal,” says Peter. “But that would have added 12 months to the timeframe plus meant additional costs.”

They submitted a revision, separating the gym and garage/office block from the main house – both were originally to be attached, but in hindsight this “actually looks a lot better,” says Peter.


After gaining approval, they undertook all the usual necessary surveys before beginning the hunt for builder in September 2011. What they didn’t anticipate was that this would take a year, and they weren’t ready to start work until November 2012. “The challenge we had was we weren’t local to this area,” says Debbie. The builder they had taken round with them previously was based too far away, while others fell through for various reasons – one upped the price when they were ready to proceed, and another was reluctant to let Debbie and Peter have any involvement from a project management point of view.

Eventually they found someone and began work in what Peter describes as “an extremely wet winter.” The bungalow sat right at the front of the plot so they had to completely dig out the

july/august 2018

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