I provided some nice pictures of how quickly our house was going up. We were shown around by Dan and Nigel. Work is progressing. This week the roof was sealed properly ensuring the house is now safe if it rains.
We walked through the ground floor of the house – Nick’s hobby room (with a pull down double bed), the stairwell, the shower room, laundry area (with pull down bunk beds), the master bedroom (where we will sleep) and the adjoining master bathroom. Our bedroom has a fantastic outlook – of the lake and the brook. This will the only traditional bedroom with a bed – Nick plans to make it – wardrobes, TV, and its own bathroom with a bathtub and shower.
Upstairs consists of two rooms. My sewing room; and the living/kitchen/dining area. Here is the view from my sewing space. Our house is the first to go up and there will be a further row of houses across from us. But behind them will be a further lake – for boating and fishing. This is going to be dug out on the other side of the road – surrounded at present by the black plastic newt fences. We will have a “boat house” where we could store a canoe, or park a car, and there are individual and guest parking spaces here too. So if we get a canoe it would be easy to pull it from the boat house to the lake at the front of the house.
With lakes in front of us and behind us, we might even take up fishing!
The plot does not have a garden although we may plant some pots within the edges of our site. Mainly we will be able to enjoy the roof garden (“sky deck”), effectively the second floor of the house is open to the elements. The square area to the front of the house (visible in the photograph below left) will be where the staircase emerges through a light well. It is a specially built feature of the house. It will allow light into the house but also to connect inside and outside in a creative way. On warm days we will have the roof shaft open – a bit like having a drop-top car! The roof garden is the whole length and breadth of the house – big enough for a party, and certainly perfect for eating outside and sunbathing. We hope to cultivate plants too. Obviously our UK weather is fairly poor most of the time, but when it is nice we have a reputation to getting outside, (stripping off) and enjoying it. We love barbeques and entertaining in the open. Below right Nick, Dan and Nigel look out from the back of the roof garden over the lack. The wide space will be filled with glass so we can see the water, even when sitting or lying down.
This week we have been discussing which stored-bed-solutions we are going to adopt. We don’t want the three “spare” bedrooms to look like bedrooms. The house has four bedrooms and we will be able to accommodate friends and family. But when Nick and I are there allow we don’t want to feel we are living in a hotel. My sewing room, for example, with double up as a bedroom, but we don’t want a bed obviously sited in the room. So we are looking at convertible beds for my room, for Nick’s hobby room and the third guest room will serve as a washroom/ironing area most days. So we need beds that swivel out, or drop down from the wall, or possibly turn into sofas or chairs. We have experience of sleeping in one of these drop down beds at my mother’s house, and while it is very comfortable the style is a bit retro, and not in a good way. There is a sort of “caravan” look that I can’t bear. On the other hand none of the sofas I have looked at appear to be comfortable to sit on (or to sleep in). Many of these items sacrifice comfort for convenience and we want a proper mattress so friends and family members can sleep well in the quiet countryside. So we are beginning to focus on pull down beds. We like these Italian bunk beds by Italian company Clei.
I wondered if anyone has a recommendation of a company or style of fold away bed. Also can you recommend a comfortable sofa that isn’t a bed? We have bought two sofas in our married life and enjoyed sitting on neither of them. Thank you.
I love these updates – I think you will have to have an open house once you’re finally finished and we can all traipse round. Love the roof garden idea x
Brilliant idea Joanne – an Open House – you and all my sewing friends would be so welcome. I look forward to having you round. I think we should be finished by Christmas, with a bit of luck.
Before I reply, I just want to thank you for your comment on my recent blog post about looking forward to leaving where I currently live …
Now, the important part – what plans you have. It must be so exciting building from scratch – is this your design, or is it off the plan, as we say here (Australia). You will be away from the hustle and bustle – which will feel very strange at first, but over time you will develop your interests more fully – with sewing of course! And more time to do it in – perhaps you will even feel less tired with less time spent with the demands of city living. I do wish you well.
And sofas – no, I have not found one that suits me either. Ditto sofa beds.
Thanks Sarah Liz. I do understand your feelings, although we are not moving permanently, at least not for years. This home will be a place we can away to at weekends – it is only an hour or two away. We look forward to having space for family to stay (our London home has only one bedroom), fresh air and opportunities for country walks and sporty fun.
How exciting! The house is really progressing. I am sure you will find a perfect solution for the bed issue.
Sofa beds don’t work do they, they are neither bed nor sofa! Those wall hung beds look good. Great idea not to let the beds clog up floor space. The house is coming on a pace, how exciting.
Great update! Can’t wait to see the finished product.
How exciting! I don’t have a bed recommendation – we have a guest sofa bed which is acceptable, particularly with an extra layer of memory foam. It was expensive – cheaper ones just didn’t do. The other rooms still have traditional beds (we have 5 bedrooms). I’m fortunate that we have other rooms available for sewing etc. Sofas – no recommendation, I’m not happy with any of ours. (nor our bed for that matter!). Looking forward to the next update. Is this a holiday/weekend house rather than your FT house?
Thanks Anne – interesting that comfortable sofas are so hard to find. This will be a weekend house and a place for the family to enjoy holidays, but we will be based in London for the next five to ten years.
I love the roof terrace idea, with a view too. I hope it’s finished by this time next year and you can reap the rewards of your patient and excited wait.
As for sofas, we’ve had ours for 13 years and it’s still ultra comfortable because (and I think this is key) it isn’t too deep and suits my short legs. Having said that, it’s supportive and D, who’s tall, likes it too (he works from there instead of a desk!). It’s called Longa and the company is Label. If we have to replace it, we’ll get the same.
I love the Italian pull down beds in the picture. As a child, for a while I used to sleep on a fold-out bed that belonged to one of those wooden living rooms cabinets where people keep drinking glasses. It looked horrific (no recommendation there!).
You childhood bed sounds like a death-trap!! When I was little we had bunks for a time and I loved being on the top but hated being underneath. And thanks for the sofa tip. I found the Dutch company but not the sofa you mentioned – maybe it is not made any more. I shall find a local stockist and take a look.
Very exciting to be following your project with you! Sofas and sofa beds are such a difficult purchase. What seems like it is going to be comfortable in the store often turns out not to be when you are sitting on it for any length of time. I do love those pull down bunk beds – very stylish.
This is from an old article, but the leads on European companies might be useful.
It’s fun to get the progress reports on your house. Great to be able to design something that suits you so well–much like the pleasure of sewing.
Perfect Elle. Thanks so much for this link.
How exciting! I have a hard time imagining it, but I’m looking forward to seeing pictures when it’s completed, especially the second floor and lightwell.
Did I understand you correctly — they’re creating a second lake? Wow!
The builders are making fast progress it’s going to be lovely I’m well jel. I have no advice about furnishings I’m afraid, however, others are making some useful contributions, I googled sew2pro’s sofa and I’d like one like that. Happy planning.
It looks amazing. It must be so exciting to be planning every stage of a new home, exactly to your needs. We’ve just completed an extension (which we love) and bought a new sofa and armchairs. In the process we sat on every sofa in London (slight exaggeration perhaps but it felt like it) because we were determined to get something comfy this time. Our new sofa and chairs are from a shop in Kingston called Seriously Sofas. Ignore the name – they spec and order exactly what you want from source. We got the Tapas one (http://www.seriouslysofas.co.uk/products/corner-modular-units/tapas-flexible-modules) but in single colour velvet fabrics that suit us. I’d definitely recommend having a look. We love the finished item, and it’s so comfortable!
What a lovely site and view and the house will be very nice to live and sew in .
I have seen an interesting desk the length of a bed and you can turn it, with all the stuff that is sitting on the desk and up comes a bed with pillows and everything, it takes 2 seconds to convert and revert, no need ot put anything away because nothing folds. I revolves around and axis.
You can buy the fittings and have the bed made tby a carpenter or make it yourself. The company is called Haefele, I teach their export clerks and they have offices in the UK as well. They manufacture all sorts of interesting fittings as well.
Those drop down beds look really cool. Um, what’s the nearest airport?
I’ve had good luck with DFS sourced sofa beds – the best ones look like and feel like proper sofas, yet you can take the seat cushions out and flip out a metal frame bed and mattress. Can’t say the bed function is great but it’s certainly fine for kids and probably OK for an adult for a short stay.