There’s a really good chance I will never get to live in my perfect house simply because I cannot afford to build it. This is not because I want to live in a massive mock period property with faux leaded windows, 10 bedrooms all en-suite or other fripperies it is a fact that to build from scratch is very expensive.
The first obstacle to overcome is finding a plot. Like most people born under a water sign I’d like to be near the sea. Some years ago I spotted a ruin on the island of Torcello, this could have been razed to the ground and on the plot I could construct my perfect home. There are a couple of problems with this idea, the current lack of language skills required to pilot one’s way through the bureaucracy and red tape that is Italian planning law and quite probably insufficient funds. There is also the two smaller issues of it being at sea level and mosquitoes. The reason the Venetians left the island was largely down to the problems with these tiresome insects. It was a lovely plot though.
My perfect house would almost certainly be a cube, formed of high energy glass and concrete. I know this latter material can only be produced by creating a massive amount of CO2 but hang on we don’t build houses for the short term. Many of the finest properties in the world have been standing for centuries. I want my house to live on long after I have gone. The glass fronted box has to face the sea and face south, there’s really no point having great windows and facing north. To redress the energy balance I will install solar panels to generate power and heat for the building. Rain water will be harvested to provide moisture to maintain the plants we will grow.
The house itself will comprise a state of the art (well what I can afford) kitchen, a study / office, a studio – this is a must, a non negotiable, a well proportioned dining / living area and if possible a separate room for watching films. In the cloaks area, a wet room shower and toilet / basin. Upstairs three well proportioned bedrooms all en-suite with that fancy glass that goes opaque when you turn the power on.
By having underfloor heating, high U factor glass and as much insulation as can be accommodated I hope to keep energy bills to a minimum and possible sell power to a generating company. All doors will be sufficiently wide to allow wheelchair access and that study could become a bedroom if required at a later stage. We only have one car so a suitable garage will be hidden below ground level, probably adjacent to the studio area. For those interested the studio will include a make-up / wardrobe area and a chill out zone.
I have seen something that comes very close to my ideal on Grand Designs, Series 6 Episode 3. I have no doubt it will be on More4 again soon and joy of joys you can watch it on 4OD. Follow commercial architect Martin Pease as he builds his dream home in Bristol. Enjoy!