Laura Cartledge talks to the architect and agent behind a unique opportunity in Fulking.
From a Hayling Island chalet to the first Passivhaus in Lewes, Meloy Architects is quickly building itself a reputation for transforming challenging projects into prestigious properties.
So, with the South Downs site of the striking four bedroom ‘Hillside’ home posing tricky planning constraints, Charles Meloy was ‘the man for the job’.
“I think with the success of the beach house in Hayling, they thought we would be able to do something special,” he says modestly.
“We’ve got a project on at the moment in Lewes for my wife and I which has helped show our experience and expertise in getting planning too.”
In fact it seems that for Charles it is a case of the more testing projects the better.
“It makes it a lot easier when you are setting out,” he insists. “At college you are given green field sites to work with and when you don’t have things to react against it is much harder.
“Things like access to the site, the view, give you markers to work with,” explains Charles. “This is a fantastic site as the outlook is quite incredible really.”
Looking at the open plan accommodation and extensive use of glass, there is little doubt the surroundings have been a key design influence.
“It’s a very contextual build, all our builds are. It is about responding to the local site and the wider area as well,” he agrees.
“The views are better as you go higher up – that is why we flipped it around.”
The plans place three of the double bedrooms, two of which are ensuite, on the quiet lower ground floor while the master is upstairs and boasts floor to ceiling sliding doors ‘so you can enjoy the breathtaking views even in bed’.
This feature also maximises the open plan living room so the viewing terrace can become an addition to the entertaining space.
The beauty of a project at this stage means that the to-be owners will be able to have a say in the décor, which will include picking a kitchen which you can guarantee no one will mind doing the washing up in – if it means getting to enjoy the view.
While the appeal for Charles is obvious, he admits one of his favourite parts of being involved has been the ‘client contribution’.
“Bob and Jan were very open in saying ‘we don’t want to cloud the architectural thinking’ and as an architect that is sometimes the best brief,” he smiles.
“All sites shape the build but when you have one like this – and a client that is as strong about showcasing it as you are – it can be a very successful project.
“It should be a great house when it is finished.”
The director of estate agents Brand Vaughan knows ‘great’ is an understatement.
“It is right up there with some of the best properties built in Sussex in recent years. I would say it is in the top five,” insists Jason Brand.
“It is not something that is likely to be seen again either. The chances of getting permission for a new build in the park are pretty much non existent.”
However that doesn’t mean the instruction is simple – how do you go about selling a property that doesn’t exist?
“That is a good question and I think modern technology plays a big part,” he replies.
“We can use it to target certain markets; if there is a property by the station we can use Facebook and
the suchlike to target commuters for example.”
For Hillside, Jason believes there are two markets – builders and buyers, with the latter having dominated the enquiries so far.
“With the Grand Designs programme people are more open to this type of development,” he confesses.
“People wanting to build their own home is a growing market – it is like running a marathon, it is something to tick off in life.”
The setting is also playing a part, as it provides yet another reason someone would be unlikely to be able to bring themselves to sell.
“It is right in the heart of the South Downs, you don’t have properties surrounding you and the views will
never be built on,” lists Jason. “At the same time it is just a 15 minute drive from Brighton. It is the
best of both worlds.”
Jason introduced the clients to Charles and is clearly proud to have played a part in the process.
More about Meloy Architects can be found at www.meloy.co.uk
The Hillside self build is on the market with Brand Vaughan, 110 St George’s Road, Kemp Town, Brighton for an asking price of offers in excess of £750,000.
Final re sale value is estimated at £1.5m with a build cost estimated £450,000.
For more information, visit brandvaughan.co.uk or call 01273 504441.
September 28, 2015 Interiors and Property