Spirit of adventure

The open plan living space
The open plan living space
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This energy effficient home near the sea was built with a spirit of adventure and meticulous attention to detail. Sharon Dale reports. Pictures by Gary Longbottom.

Kevin McCloud’s knowledge, enthusiasm and poetic way with words have inspired a legion of would-be self-builders. Most of them never get beyond their armchair and so live their dreams vicariously through his TV series, Grand Designs. David and Eve Jervis are an exception.

The contemporary design is a first for Hunmanby

The contemporary design is a first for Hunmanby

The couple, avid fans of the programme, had already downsized from a large family house into a smart and spacious apartment in Hunmanby Hall when they began their search for a site.

“We enjoy Grand Designs and it set us thinking about building our own home. We saw a plot of land up for auction and went along to see what it would go for. Then we ended up bidding and won,” says Eve.

The plot, at the head of a cul-de-sac bordering open fields in Hunmanby, had permission for a traditional dormer bungalow, which was not what they wanted.

Their design revealed a spirit of adventure and a desire to make a home to suit their tastes and their lifestyle. They came up with it themselves after extensive research.

The stylish master bedroom

The stylish master bedroom

“We didn’t do anything for three years as the recession had taken hold and we wanted to sell our apartment. So we waited until 2013 before we started on the project and that gave us time to do a lot of research and go to homebuilding shows,” says David.

Their initial plan was to buy a pre-fabricated house from Hanse Haus in Germany or from Finnish company Hunke, which specialises timber homes. The decision to create their own one-off came after viewing properties in a “kit house” village in Wurrtemberg, near Stuttgart, in Eve’s native Germany. It costs five Euros to look round the houses, which are all occupied.

“We got a lot of good ideas from that trip as the Germans are so far ahead in their approach,” says David

The result is a beautiful new home that costs barely anything to run and has a rare “A” rating on its energy performance certificate.

The dining area

The dining area

However, before they could start on their self-build, they faced a planning battle. A section 106, usually applied to housing developments of ten or more properties, was placed on their planned single dwelling. Scarborough Borough Council wanted £16,000. It took three months and the intervention of the local MP to get this removed.

When the couple later submitted a planning application to change the materials used to render and a metal roof, they faced another long wait.

Fortunately, their builder, Tom Hart, of Springvale Homes, was patient. When he got the go-ahead, he and his team built walls from blockwork covered in external wall insulation and a pre-coloured German render. All the internal walls are solid block work too.

These were topped with one of the property’s most striking architectural features, an overhanging metal Metrotile roof with integrated solar panels.

Intrepid self-builders David and Eve Jervis

Intrepid self-builders David and Eve Jervis

“It is 70 per cent lighter than a tiled roof, which means the joists and trusses can be smaller and it goes on in sheets, so it takes far less time to install. It’s also guaranteed for 50 years,” says David.

“The roof materials cost more but this is off-set by the lower cost of labour.”

He and Eve wanted floor-to-ceiling, three-metre-high patio doors and a four-metre-high window on the stairway. Unable to find them from British manufacturers, they sourced them and the rest of their windows from Belgium-based Schuco windows and had them fitted by Hull-based Vulcan.

Framed in brushed aluminium and with triple glazing, they cost £30,000, double that of bog standard uPVC, but they are supremely energy efficient.

An air source heat pump runs the underfloor heating at a constant 21C. It works out at about a third of the cost of central heating. A MVHR mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system was also installed to take stale, damp air out of the building and bring fresh, filtered air in.

“In new builds one of the biggest issues is drying out the plaster but the MVHR system and underfloor heating meant that it dried very quickly and we have had no damp patches or cracking,” says David, who has an electronics business and designed the zonal lighting system.

The house bathroom

The house bathroom

The property’s energy efficiency and the government’s feed-in tariff and renewable heat incentive payments mean that running costs are next to nothing.

The interior layout includes a large open-plan living space, with a double-height ceiling, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dressing room and a utility room leading to an attached garage.

There is also a mezzanine, now known as David’s man cave, which could be converted into bedrooms and bathrooms

“The idea was to effectively have a bungalow with high ceilings and an interesting roof line,” says Eve, who used to work for Jaeger and Burberry and has a great eye for design. She was in charge of the décor and chose a neutral backdrop to showcase the couple’s collection of art. David demanded one concession and got a yellow wall in his study. The flooring throughout is a grey plank-effect vinyl, which looks sensational and is very practical. Eve designed the kitchen, which is by MKM, and created her own splashback using art prints covered by a removable glass panel.

She had to sacrifice a longed-for glass staircase that came in at £30,000, so instead David designed a beautiful floating staircase made by a Barnsley firm for a fraction of the cost.

The furniture is a mix of old favourites and some new buys from Ikea and Barker and Stonehouse. Eve also designed some pieces, including the enormous bedhead that she has made and upholstered.

The house took 14 months and cost £300,000 to construct and fit out but it was money well spent.

“We love it,” says Eve, “It’s so light, warm and comfortable. It is our ‘grand design’ and everything we wanted.”

Useful Contacts:

Builder, Springvale Homes Ltd, Bridlington, tel: 07837 392131

Roofing, Metrotile Ltd, Wiltshire, tel: 01249 658 514

Windows, Vulcan Commercial Glazing, Hull, tel: 01482 830 500

Heat Pump BCPH, Driffield, tel: 01262 488 475

Garage doors, Oxley Garage Doors, Hull, tel: 01482 444 000

Paving, Cockerill Paving, Bridlington, tel: 01262 678 704

Fencing, Red Roof Repairs, Hunmanby, tel: 01723 890 408

Kitchen, MKM Ltd, Scarborough, tel: 01723 354 394

Flooring, The Carpet Station, Filey, tel: 01723 515 995

Staircase, Strafford Fabrications, Barnsley, tel: 01226 296 767

Upholstery, R. Tait, Scarborough, tel: 01723 367 229

Environmental, energy issues and planning support, Architectural & Creative Designs Ltd, York, tel: 01904 490 686

The window on the stairs bring in light and views

The window on the stairs bring in light and views