Rolling down the river
Forget Wind in the Willows and Ratty, when it comes to riverside homes Charlotte Pearson finds Avon Place has it all.
Building your own home has come a long way from just bricks and mortar.
With many people wanting to put their own stamp on their property it seems anything is possible.
So when Mark and Sharon Beresford bought a plot with a 1960s psuedo bungalow on it in 2000 they already had bigger and better plans in mind.
“We wanted a design that maximised the wonderful views and was light and airy, but at the same time economical, with building standards considerably higher than anything else available,” Mark explains.
“We also wanted the design to have huge visual impact and appeal.
“We wanted it to be ‘individual’,” he admits, “and meet the changing requirements of a growing family from youngsters to teens, as well as accommodate family and friends.”
The couple decided to use German company Huf Haus that manufactures prefabricated houses.
“Huf were selected after proving themselves following several trips to Germany and watching two houses assembled in the UK,” Mark recalls. “The open plan design allows the glorious views to be enjoyed from the principal reception rooms.
“We were very impressed by how the design works so well to capture heat through the glass by thermal gain, then as the sun rises, the large overhangs provide screening from the sun to prevent overheating,” he explains.
“Huf houses are very energy efficient and the design of the house itself on the top of the hill here uses many of the architectural features to manage the conditions and create a very comfortable living environment.”
The result is Avon Place, located in Windmill Lane, near Ringwood. It certainly meets the brief, boasting outstanding views with river frontage, sitting 50 feet above the river on the edge of the escarpment.
“We previously lived half a mile away but wanted a site with views and river frontage,” Mark reveals.
“Eventually we found the best of both on the same elevated plot.”
And, as Kirsty and Phil, tell us it is all about location, location, location.
“It has easy access to fast roads, ports and airports,” Mark enthuses. “We can be in London in just over an hour, on the beach in 20 minutes, the New Forest in five or floating down the river in two.”
After a five-year search for the plot, planning took two years.
Building in Germany took approximately five months, followed by five weeks for the assembly of the frame and shell, five months ‘fitting out’ and three months for landscaping.
“Everything in the house is upgraded from the choice of grey style to the kitchen, marble, electrics, heating and just about everything else,” he says. “It was the first ever split roof Huf Haus built in grey.
“In fact production was halted as George Huf believed it to have been a mistake on my part.”
Entering the property you will find yourself on the ground floor, which has an open plan sitting room, kitchen and breakfast area, dining room and music room as well as a study and toilet.
“We wanted the house to be very usable,” Mark explains.
“Despite the open plan being the requirements for the ground floor, the lower ground floor has its own living room, bedrooms, bathrooms together with cinema and games room, which enables our children to have their own space for studies and having friends round.”
As well as the two bedrooms on the lower ground floor up on the first floor is a further four.
Each of the rooms on this floor offers its own ensuite while the master bedroom also has its very own dressing room.
“The master bedroom is my favourite,” Mark smiles. “With the fabulous views and a feeling of being amongst the trees on the balcony.
“Sitting on the balcony with a fresh cup of coffee and the Sunday papers, watching the day emerge over the river and the valley will always be special.”
Mark adds that the location has provided many unexpected bonuses.
“Such as helping two stunned kingfishers recover and fly away after they flew into the glass,” he reveals, “to coming across two otters playing in the river as I drifted downstream in the kayak this summer and even watching the buzzards drift on the updraft as the wind is deflected upwards by the hill. Not to mention the fishing.”
Which begs the questions why are they moving?
“We have another home building project planned,” he beams. “After searching for the last four years we have found another plot and are planning a new adventure.”
Which means a new family can start their very own at Avon Place.
Avon Place is on the market for a guide price of £3,250,000 with Hamptons International, 72 High Street, Winchester, SO23 9DA; 01962 710158 or www.hamptons.co.uk
January 19, 2015 Interiors and Property