Owners of this property in Hertfordshire knew exactly what they wanted to create, and carried out thorough research and meticulous financial planning to achieve their wonderful family home. Having lived just around the corner since childhood, they knew the area well, and in 2013, when the plot of land with an existing bungalow on it came up for sale, they bought it and rented it out for a while.
"We’d been playing with a design for a new build for a while and knew that we wanted a sustainable house with a contemporary design. It was also crucial that it was right for our lifestyle as a family and having had a small basement in the cottage we’d previously lived in, we knew a basement could give us that extra bit of liveable space.
Glatthaar was recommended to us by our house manufacturer, and given the precision of premanufactured houses, we needed to be confident that the basement was going to match up in terms of quality of the product and workmanship. After thorough research and having received quotes from other companies, we decided to go with Glatthaar for many reasons. Not only did we have the piece of mind that two like-minded companies were working together, but the sophistication and expertise behind Glatthaar’s manufacturing systems, as well as the credentials of the waterproof concrete that they use, were key drivers in the decision process.
Glatthaar is also very professional, at every level, as a company and the time frames that they build to made perfect sense to us. They were vigilant in their approach, which meant three soil tests had to be carried out because the plot has a chalky, permeable soil. This was a bit costly but gave us added confidence in Glatthaar’s proficiency as a pre-manufacturer.
We got planning permission for a new build at the start of 2015, and in April, we had the bungalow knocked down. The dig out, clearing and preparation of the site was a tremendous job and took six months. Then, in October, Glatthaar arrived to build the basement. It took just two weeks for them to complete it and was perfectly timed with the build of the house in November. As planned, both companies worked in unison with one another.
I was doing the internal fit out of both the basement and the main part of the house myself, and had spent months with ever-growing spreadsheets of suppliers and costs. I’d managed to source lots of cost-effective materials from across Europe. It took me just over a year to finish the house, and we couldn’t be happier with it."
The property consists of three floors of living space. On the ground floor there’s an open-plan kitchen and dining room, and a separate living room, WC, boot room and access to the double garage. In the centre of the house is a stunning American Walnut staircase linking the basement below with the ground and first floors. The first floor has two double bedrooms both with ensuite, and the master bedroom with walk-in dressing room and ensuite bathroom. The master bedroom also has a balcony over the garden.
The basement consists of an entertainment/cinema room, a laundry room, a plant room, and a guest room with ensuite bathroom. There are also two small storage rooms. The entertainment room is flooded with light from the floor to ceiling sliding glass doors to a sunken patio area at the rear of the property. The guest room is to the front and has natural light via a light well.
Building with Glatthaar
"I learnt so much from the build, especially as I’ve done the internal fit out myself, and found it interesting from start to finish. I now know lots about drainage even, where I had no clue before! It’s been a remarkable feeling being able to create something born out of our own ideas and which compliments the way that we want to live. From the outside of the property, you wouldn’t know we have a basement yet it’s added so much space, which is of massive value to us as a family.
We have underfloor heating and a ventilation system throughout the house so there’s a constant temperature everywhere and the air always feels fresh and clean. A favourite for us is the cinema room where we love to watch a film together.
Glatthaar have a great deal of knowledge, experience and professionalism as a company and they were a pleasure to work with. We were renting a house 12 miles away at the time of the build, but I was on-site every day to see what was happening, and the work ethic of the team was fantastic. They turned up absolutely when they said they would, and they were regimental in their approach to the job. It was evident that they were proud of their work and the Glatthaar product. They were all very hardworking and I believe that the company as a whole strive to be the best.
Our basement has indeed met our expectations, and I would recommend Glatthaar 100%. In fact, it’s no coincidence that they’re about to build another Glatthaar basement around the corner from here. I’d also love to do another self-build myself. Having spent months and months with spreadsheets, it would be a shame to put all that learned knowledge and experience to waste!."