Cheshire Interiors - a modern house in Holmes Chapel
PUBLISHED: 12:31 02 September 2013
Building their own home near Holmes Chapel has been nothing short of inspiring for a downsizing couple
Jackie and Malcolm Taylor have given a whole new meaning to the word ‘downsizing’.
After all it’s something people usually do when they don’t want the hassle of maintaining a huge house. But for Jackie and Malcolm it didn’t mean surrendering to the attractions of a small country cottage - not likely! It meant building a new home entirely from scratch.
In truth they have downsized. Their former residence was an 18-room Georgian pile in Snelson. However, their move has been nothing short of brave. It has been a journey into the unknown that has paid off in spades.
Now, with the help of their son, Jake, who took on the task of project manager they have a superb modern house that has been built to their exact specifications.
As Jackie says: ‘This is a house built for us. We could have had more bedrooms to maximise its value but this is our home. It is exactly as we would have it.’
The family admit that going from a large Georgian house to a redbrick cottage didn’t really appeal so they started looking at the idea of building a Huf Haus - which is a kit house from Germany based on Bauhaus principles.
Says Malcolm, whose day job is selling commercial vehicles: ‘So we actually went to Germany, to the factory to have a look around and we met Mr Huf himself. We had a few quotations from them and we went to see a few of their houses. Then, we were looking for a site and stumbled on this one which actually had a new house already built there.
‘It had been built outside the planning permission and had an enforcement on it to be demolished so be bought it from the bank and we had to knock this new building down.
‘Then our son, Jake, came along and talked us out of the Huf Haus and said, “Well why don’t we build our own on a similar kind of basis?” So we got together with the architect (Matt McNulty of McNulty architects) and we came up with this idea.’
So far so good, however they found that because their ideas were so contemporary they couldn’t get any builders to quote ‘sensibly’ on it.
‘We decided to build it ourselves, take the plunge which was a rather daunting task,’ says Malcolm.
‘But then Jake decided to take over the managing of the build. Without him, it wouldn’t have got off the ground at all so it’s down to him.’
The couple’s sense of achievement and excitement at having created an iconic piece of modern architecture on the outskirts of Holmes Chapel is infectious, and when they detail the amount of work that has gone into its construction it is easy to see why they are blown away by the result.
‘There are so many different things in this house,’ explains Malcolm.
‘We’ve got ground source heat bulbs, solar panels on the roof, we’ve got a mechanical heat recovery ventilation system...lots of things that were a first for the people who came to help us. Even the guy doing the heat recovery system said it was the first time he’d done this because it’s not only a heat recovery system it reverses the process and blows out cold air.’
Jackie explains: ‘ We renovated our previous house and the gardens and did all that from scratch. That was really derelict but it was nothing like this.’
Dominant in the downstairs main living area are two enormous glass doors. They weigh half a tonne each and had to be lifted by crane and guided into place by laser.
‘We couldn’t find anyone to make them at first,’ says Malcolm.
‘They work by magnets and they had to get a crane with lasers to get them in place, all that sort of thing went on.
Adds Jake: ‘The architect found the contractor and the reason he did was because he was the only one prepared to take on those doors and it was the first time anyone in the north of England has ever done that.
‘The concept behind was that the form follows the function of the house. It is based around open plan living where you don’t have dead spaces that don’t get used. So we have the most useable space within the total size of the house and while I was trying to direct it on the performance of the house, mum was directing it on the aesthetic aspect,’ said Jake.
‘We worked very well together, Jake and I,’ explains Jackie.
‘The hardest part was going from a traditional Georgian House for which we had all the furniture and all the paintings to go with a period property. But as we sold some of these off, we bought new and I am still in the process now. So there’s an outstanding chair from Ionic interiors. I’ve ordered an Eames chair for the other room and it’s beautiful, but it’s on the way as we speak.’
Incredibly they sold nearly all their furniture and kept very few things. Sofas in the main room and the TV room were supplied by Abitare in Wigan, a stunning modern vase on the hall table is by Black Rose Interiors, Knutsford, and the red Perspex light on the wall is from Ferrious Manchester. Cheshire Interiors supplied the beautiful contemporary kitchen as well as the upstairs his and hers dressing rooms and Knutsford’s Stonehouse Bathrooms were offset by stunning tiling imported from Italy by Clay and Rock, Tattenhall.
The house has even inspired Jackie to paint and there are two pictures adorning the walls she actually did herself.
It is almost as if the house has given the couple a new lease and a zest for life.
‘How do I feel about the house?’ says Malcolm.
‘I’ve got a sit-on mower and when I am on that in the garden, looking back at the house I feel completely happy.’