Mr & Mrs Spijker were delighted to discover that they have views for miles over the beautiful Surrey countryside.
The self-build dream began in 2004 for Mr & Mrs Spijker when Mr Spijker read an article in the Times about self-building which whet his appetite to find out more. This was further fuelled by a visit to a self build exhibition. The Spijkers knew then and there that this was something they really wanted to do. They began searching for a plot and travelled everywhere, even as far as Devon. Such was their seriousness that they sold their house and moved into rented accommodation to make sure they had the ready money to act swiftly.
It was purely by chance that Mrs Spijker discovered a plot for sale in January 2005. Even better, the plot was in the area where they were already renting so they knew it well and would also be living in comfort close to where the build took place.Being cash ready, they were able to act immediately.
The plot already had planning permission for a Scandia-Hus standard Lappland property. As part of their research, they had already been to see Scandia-Hus at their show centre in East Grinstead and were really impressed with what they saw.
They knew a lot of work would be involved in turning the plot into their dream home. The land was completely overgrown with fallen trees strewn everywhere and no access. This didn’t daunt the couple at all, such was their determination to realize their dream. They placed an offer and the process began.
As they really liked the Lappland style property, for which the land already had planning permission, they made that the basis for the design of their new home. They wanted various changes made to the standard design to fully reflect their lifestyle. They were totally impressed by the level of insulation a Scandia-Hus timber-framed property contains, and the use of triple-glazed windows.
They approached Scandia-Hus who made the necessary changes to the plans and re-applied for planning permission. The planning process was completely straightforward and so work could begin in earnest on the build.
Building began on 9th July 2005. The first thing to do was to clear out a drive to enable some form of access to the site. The levels of the land varied considerably so careful planning was required to make the levels as workable as possible.Site clearance got underway and Mrs Spijker remembers very fondly how they suddenly discovered they had the most wonderful view. Once the fallen trees and many laurels were removed, they could see for miles over the beautiful Surrey countryside. This added to their already strong feeling making them feel absolutely certain that this was meant for them.
As they were completely new to self build, they appointed Scandia-Hus to project manage the build for them. Mrs Spijker recalls how Derek Dawson, Project Manager at Scandia-Hus, pulled it all together for them.
Very important was getting the exacting steep drive totally secure. It was crucial that the wall foundation was sufficient to hold the wide border together. There was significant land movement to get the plot to the right levels.
Refreshingly, the couple were surprised how the build really made them feel differently about builders. They were incredibly helpful and provided many solutions to the obstacles encountered on the way. “The project manager’s skills even had to stretch to traffic management”, recalls Mrs Spijker. Due to the limited access, traffic would need to be halted whilst the panels were delivered. Quick unloading was essential and this was meticulously worked out to prevent a build-up of traffic.
They were amazed at just how quickly the house was erected. The pre-made factory panels were delivered on 23rd August and the house was up just after the August bank holiday. As soon as the building was up and made watertight, internal works could begin.
As they lived so close to the site, the couple were able to visit at least once a week and they remained amazed by just how the build moved on so fast. Being close both to the build and the project manager meant the couple were able to be involved at whatever stage they wanted. At this point Mrs Spijker recalls how important it is to be clear about what you want from the start and be ready and prepared for the next stage. “When the builder says he’ll be ready to lay the flooring in six weeks, make sure the flooring is ordered and delivered by this time or you may well find he has had to move onto another job!” Mrs Spijker recalls: “I was amazed at just how much insulation went in. There seemed to be a never ending supply and, just when you thought they’d finished, more would be added!”
The discovery of the beautiful views made the couple determined that they would maximize the outdoor space. The builders helped with the earth moving to get the levels right and even dug the holes for the two ponds. Work continued apace and the couple were able to move in on time at the end of March 2006.
The end result is simply stunning. The house boasts beautiful, open plan living with the use of double glass internal doors to enable privacy, when desired. The large kitchen has been beautifully finished in a shaker style and the living area boasts a large sun room. All rooms benefit from the stunning views of the garden and the countryside beyond. The large hallway and galleried landing all contribute to the spacious feel of this family home. The clever design of the living space allows one to see straight through the house onto the beautiful views beyond. The upstairs accommodation provides four spacious bedrooms, two of which have en-suite bathrooms, and a large family bathroom. Again, all rooms benefit from the spectacular views.
How did the experience compare to expectations? “Much better”, according to Mrs Spijker. The wonderful surprise in the discovery of the views and realizing how well the house sits within the plot totally exceeded their expectations. As did the help they received from Scandia-Hus in managing their project to create a home they are delighted with.