Look inside this Hintlesham family’s ‘grand designs’ home
- Credit: Archant
Trudy and Rupert Avis have built their dream property from scratch, incorporating energy-saving measures, modern design and creature comforts. Trudy reveals more
What made you decide to build your own property?
We initially approached architects in 2015 to see what their views were regarding us building within our garden…it took three years to get through planning! With our parents getting older and my mother's mobility deteriorating we thought perhaps we could have a new home suitable for all generations of the family.
And what was the dream?
A house that is open plan and wheelchair-friendly, with a ground floor shower room and a reception room that could be used as a bedroom. We wanted a sustainable home so looked at Sip Panels, heated by ground source heat pump. And we wanted plenty of large windows to let in the sunlight.
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We've lived here for over 20 years with our children growing up in the village. It's also conveniently located as we work in Hadleigh. It's nice being in the countryside with only a five minute commute.
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Did you use many local companies?
Absolutely. Our architects were Wincer Kievenaar who are based in Hadleigh. Our main contractor for the build was Robert Norman Construction from Woodbridge who are a family-run firm. And other trades involved were: Flight Timber Structures for the Hybrid Sips, Waveney Windows, Cursing Carpentry, ELC Roofing, CN Plumbing & Heating, KSL Kitchens and Bathrooms Sudbury, Bromley & Fitch tiles in Hadleigh, Brook Electricals, Turners Blinds & Shutters, and Abacus Fire & Security.
Tell us a bit more about the house - what's your favourite part?
It's three bedrooms with an open-plan kitchen, living and dining area. We have a ground floor shower room, a study (bedroom four), utility, and dining hall. Our master bedroom has a balcony, dressing room and ensuite and there's a family bathroom. We also added a detached double garage with a store and home gym above! The house has an electric car charging point and solar panels, and all heating and hot water is supplied by the ground source heat pump which is unique to the village.
Our favourite part? Well the master bedroom is wonderful. With the balcony and gable end window it is just idyllic. But there are so many highlights within the house. One other that stands out is the dining hall and looking down at it from the landing. The high vaulted ceiling makes it an outstanding feature - especially with the chandelier lighting.
We have named it Samford House - this came from Hintlesham being in the Samford district years ago before it was under Babergh.
What was most challenging about the project?
Finance! It's very easy to go over budget, especially if you change your mind about things.
Do you have any advice for other self-builders?
I would say set a realistic time scale and set a budget, making sure you leave a contingency because you'll need it! Don't be afraid to seek professional advice and put setbacks into perspective because things don't always go to plan. But most of all enjoy the journey -we have.
You've obviously had a good time decorating…
Oh yes! Our favourite finishing touches are the abstract paintings by artist Tracy Harper - a close friend of ours. When the paintings were put up they transformed the look of the house. And our best purchase is the upcycled scaffold board table. This was purchased from a show home in Aldeburgh. It looks stunning in the dining hall and seats up to 12 people which is ideal for family gatherings and dinner parties with friends.
Dare we ask how much it all cost?
It was just over £2,000 per square meter so slightly over budget. This is above the average cost but it's a high-end build with quality finishes and it wasn't built to make a profit but to provide us with a dream home.
What do you love most about living in Suffolk?
We are both born and bred in the area and all our family live close by. There's beautiful countryside and stunning coastlines to explore. It's also an ideal place to live if you are into health and fitness with many rural roads to run and cycle on, and picturesque walks. I cycle a lot and I just adore it around here.
Do you have a quirky interior you'd like to show off? Or have you recently built your own home? Email us