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Grand Designs inspired move out of London

How ‘Grand Designs’ television program inspired our clients to make the move out of London

We are often contacted by couples and families wanting to make the move out of London for more space, bigger housing and greater schooling options. However, a recent enquiry from a couple came with the request to help realise their dream of building a Huf Haus.

The couple had watched Kevin McCloud over the years and were inspired by the cutting edge design of a Huf Haus. In fact, when a Huf Haus first appeared on Grand Designs in 2004, presenter Kevin McCloud described the home as a ‘German spaceship’, but he was impressed by the ‘most efficient [building] process’ he’d ever seen and the ‘beautiful engineering’ of the finished product.

With their hearts set on living this lifestyle, the search was on! Here is our case study of helping them realise their dream.

The Initial Enquiry
Plan with a key and a key ring of a house laid on top‘More space and being closer to the countryside’ was the principal wish for a family who recently approached Chiltern Relocation. The couple, who have two young children, both worked in central London and were keen to move close to the new Crossrail line which will pass through Maidenhead. The couple’s dream was to build and live in a ‘Huf Haus’ so the search criteria needed to be quite specific including a decent sized plot.

How we helped
A realistic commute was also high up on the priority list. The couple were happy to live within five miles of Maidenhead whereby they could cycle, moped or drive to the station. As with many of our clients, they wished to live in a rural location but with convenience of shopping and social amenities close by. The plot would need to be a minimum of a third of an acre and within a county council planning district which was open to new builds such as the innovative Huf Haus’s.

Our family appreciated that, realistically, the desired plot would need to include an existing house so that they could live there whilst saving up for the build. During our search we therefore needed to find a house that was liveable but which was also considered to be ‘a knock-down’. This therefore limited our search as we were not interested in modern or newly renovated or extended properties upon which you would pay an unnecessary premium.

The Problems we faced
Huf Haus’s are highly innovative, constructed from wood and glass, energy efficient and built to clients specifications. Huf Haus promise that the house will ‘enhance your quality of life as sunlight and the natural world are brought directly into your living space’. In order to find the ideal plot for the Huf Haus there were additional needs to be factored in. When researching possible plots we would need to visualize whether a Huf Haus would fit into the surroundings amongst established homes and whether the plot leant itself to the possibility of the build. Ideally the plot needed to be elevated in order to fully appreciate rural views afforded by all the glass and it needed to be secluded given the amount of glass in the structure of the house. The couple desired a semi-rural location with proximity to a local nursery school and primary school and easy access to Maidenhead station so we could not conduct the search in deeply rural locations.

Seer Green garden backing on to open fieldsWhen Chiltern Relocation found a dated house, up a private road, elevated with more than an acre of gardens and paddocks yet close to the local village with a primary school, the excitement was palpable. Hopes were high when we visited yet there was one major problem. Road noise.

Far from being a quiet rural retreat with potential, it was blighted by road noise and the couple left disappointed. Given how many boxes this house ticked, Chiltern Relocation returned undeterred to the plot with a noise recorder to assess whether it was only noisy at certain times of the day. After making further enquiries, it transpired that on the day we visited, the local Henley Regatta was in full swing and cars had been diverted down the main road close to the property hence explaining the increased noise levels!

Conclusion
Confident that the traffic noise was directly linked to the festival which only happens once a year for a five day period – the couple offered on the property and put their London house on the market. There were a few more twists and turns in the process, including the initial sale of the couple’s London house falling through, and finding a mutually agreeable completion date. However, once new buyers were quickly secured and dates agreed the sale was concluded and the couple moved in just before Christmas. In a last minute twist to the story, the couple were in France on the day of the move and Chiltern Relocation oversaw the move day, directing the removal team to ensure that the house was ready for them to start their new semi-rural life on their return. We can’t wait to see the next steps in their Huf Haus dream.

Thank you so much for everything- particularly overseeing our move – definitely above and beyond! Look forward to having you over once we’ve completed the house build! J and R.

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Sharon Hewitt

Sharon Hewitt

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