Moving closer to Central London, this family had decided to rent a house initially in order to get to know the area a bit. Then a house came up for sale on the same road they were renting on. At a street party they got talking to a neighbour who was the agent for the property, and before long they were in negotiations with the owner to buy it. A long exchange was agreed, which gave them the time they wanted to research the option of knocking the existing house down and building their dream family home.
"Motivated by the associated environmental aspects, the energy performance and fixed build times, we decided early on that we wanted a pre-manufactured house. We didn’t have any previous experience of self-build although we work in the property and development sectors, so we knew what to look for. The old house on this site had a basement already, which assisted in the planning process, and we wanted the extra space a basement offers", says the homeowner.
They put in for planning permission in March 2012 and had to make four reiterations before their application was approved about a year later. "We had to make a few design changes to the front of the house to make it look more traditional and in keeping with the other houses on the road. In the end, it doesn’t matter too much to us, as once we step inside the front door, we see that we have created the exact space we wanted. The house was built very much for us, as a family, and incorporates the space and design to suit our lifestyle."
The original house was knocked down in June 2013, and the Glatthaar basement was built just a couple of months later in August. "Glatthaar had been recommended to us by our house manufacturer. It took just two weeks to build the basement and was perfectly coordinated with the arrival of the house in October. Given the precision of the manufacturing techniques for the house, we needed to be confident that the basement was going to match up regarding quality, which it absolutely did. Both companies were fastidious in their approach and worked seamlessly together."
The house consists of 4 floors of living space. On the ground floor there’s the open plan kitchen, dining and sitting room, which is flooded with light from the floor to ceiling glass doors to the patio at the back. There’s an office to the front of the property, a WC and a bike room, which could potentially be used as a garage into the future. There are four bedrooms on the first floor, two of which have en suite bathrooms with the other two bedrooms sharing another bathroom. The master bedroom complete with twin walk through dressing rooms and a large en suite bathroom is on the top floor.
The American walnut staircase leads from the ground floor into the basement, which consists of a laundry room, a large entertainment room, a full-size snooker room and the plant room for the house.
"Having a basement like this feels like a real luxury. It gives us so much more space to play with. The snooker room, which was something I’d always wanted, had to be a specific size to house the table, then we have the entertainment room which we use as a cinema room, a music room, and a table tennis room. It’s the perfect family space."
The basement has floor-to-ceiling sliding doors in the entertainment room, which flood the space with natural light, and give a view of the beautiful wall of tiered planters acting as a barrier to the lawn and protecting the basement from any perceived threat of rising water levels.
"We live on the top of a hill, so there’s no real issue with flooding in this area, but with Glatthaar we’ve got peace of mind that our basement is fully watertight. It’s also really warm, just like the rest of the house. We’ve got underfloor heating throughout with three solar panels and 12 photovoltaic panels on the roof, which are extremely efficient. Our heating bills are next to nothing."
Building with Glatthaar
"Glatthaar have a very adaptable system, which meant they were able to achieve the open, flexible space we wanted in the basement. We were really keen not to have any supports in the main entertainment room so that we can use the space according to what we want as the family changes and grows. Glatthaar appreciated and accommodated this in the design process.
They had a very professional and assuring approach throughout the build, and their quality of workmanship was fantastic. The crew treated the site with great respect and were exceptionally tidy during the build. Everything ran like clockwork, and we always knew exactly where we were with things. The Glatthaar customer service was excellent, and every representative of the company did just as they said they would. We really couldn’t fault them.
We learnt a great deal from the process and would say to anyone else who’s considering a premanufactured build, where things like light sockets are pre-cast, you really need to be organised and know what you want. We did lots of research and Glatthaar were able to advise us too. We’d wholeheartedly recommend Glatthaar as a company."