Visionary family home a work of love

IT is a stylish and eco-friendly family home with views across some of Suffolk’s most beautiful countryside.

IT is a stylish and eco-friendly family home with views across some of Suffolk’s most beautiful countryside.

But Hoo House in Woodbridge is also a symbol of dedication and enduring love.

The stunning property will feature on Channel 4’s Grand Designs tonight at 9pm.

It was the vision of Lucy Fairweather and her partner Nat McBride, who wanted to create an environmentally sensitive family home in which to live with their two young children, Moses and Rose, now aged four and three.


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But tragically Mr McBride died of stomach cancer just six months into the project, aged 33, in June 2008.

Miss Fairweather, a teacher, was determined to carry on with their dream home and is now the owner of a house to be proud.

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Last night the 38-year-old said: “It is tragic what happened but we love living here. It is sad that Nat is not able to be here but we are incredibly comfortable and very happy.

“It is a real pleasure to be here. We wanted it to be a family home first and foremost and that it what we have. It is a very happy house. The children love it and I am incredibly proud.”

The home includes solar panels to heat the water, an air source heat pump instead of a boiler and super insulated walls and glazing to reduce heat loss - giving it a 60% reduction in carbon emissions.

It cost slightly more than the �200,000 budget and was designed by architect and friend Jerry Tate, of Jerry Tate Architects in London.

Mr Tate has experience with environmentally friendly schemes, having previously worked on the Eden Project in Cornwall.

He said: “It’s innovative in that it’s a strategic approach to provide affordable low energy housing, a way of making low energy homes that are economically possible.

“It was a very nice project in which to be involved.”

Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud was left impressed by the scheme, which he described as a template for a modern 21st century family home.

He says on the show: “I think Lucy pretty much achieved what she and Nat set out to do here. She has created a building which is intelligent, environmentally friendly, efficient and of course beautiful as well. Inadvertently she’s ended up with a building which any family would find delightful, which any family would enjoy living in and looking after.”

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