Cotswold Interiors: Penny and Mark convert a Stroud bungalow into the house of their dreams
PUBLISHED: 13:49 28 August 2015 | UPDATED: 11:30 07 September 2015
With views extending across a Stroud valley for many miles, Penny and Mark Rudge had the perfect location. All they needed was the perfect house
When Penny and Mark Rudge bought a 1964 flat-roofed bungalow near Stroud three years ago it was because of the views. “We’re right on top of a steep hill overlooking a country valley and can see for miles,” says Penny. “However, we wanted to rebuild the bungalow into a two-storey five-bedroom house.”
Planning permission was quickly granted as the couple kept to the same footprint and elected to keep the new roof line low. But although they demolished almost the whole building they did end up leaving just the front door and two windows standing. “They became a very expensive front door and windows as unfortunately we did not get the 25% VAT reduction allowed for a new-build – even though it is virtually a new-build,” says Penny.
The couple completely redesigned the layout and the building work took 18 months but amazingly, despite the huge overhaul, they continued to live in it, moving from room to room. “Previously there were almost-new uPVC windows and doors but I gave them to a local school which was having a refurbishment,” says Penny. “I’ve chosen oak for the new frames and other joinery throughout.” The couple also installed an air source heat pump for underfloor heating in the kitchen area and bathrooms as well as heating their new swimming pool. “Plus we have solar panels on the roof and gas central heating,” says Penny.
To go with the five bedrooms are five bathrooms, four in a contemporary style while for the guest bathroom on the ground floor Penny chose a more traditional design. And a recurrent theme in her home is hydrangeas, ranging from paintings to fabric patterns.“I love them and had been choosing fabrics with their design for a good 10 years before they suddenly became very popular,” says Penny. “I also love duck egg blue and that’s a bit of a theme in our house too.”
The most impressive room is the large kitchen-living-dining room which takes up the rear of the house, making the most of the spectacular country views across the valley through their new bi-fold glass doors made by GK Joinery. Previously this area had been a bedroom, bathroom and utility room. A limestone floor was laid by Precious Stone and Penny planned the layout of the kitchen.
“I didn’t really want a U-shape of units but after much thought I could see it was the best design for this space with a long island in the middle,” she says. “Also I would have liked a higher ceiling but as I also wanted a balcony leading from the bedroom above, which would prevent a high ceiling, I had to decide which took priority – and it was the balcony.” Woodchester Cabinet Makers then hand-made and hand-painted the Shaker style cabinets which are painted in Lead by Little Greene. The main focus of the kitchen is the 1.8 metre-long island with its Silestone quartz worktop.
“The two tall cupboards along the back wall flanking the fridge-freezer in the middle are my favourite items as they are so very useful,” says Penny. “One is a larder cupboard with lots of built-in spice racks inside the doors and the other is a shelving unit holding everything I need such as crockery, glasses, cutlery and so on. However I also love my two-drawer fridge in the island. All you have to do is pull open the drawer and grab the item, no more poking about into the depths of a fridge to find it. “I love my limestone floor tiles too as although white they magically seem to stay clean. If you wait for Evan the Labrador’s muddy footprints to dry (which they quickly do with the underfloor heating) then the mud is easily Hoovered up.”
She adds, “My absolute bargain is the fridge freezer I spotted being sold new on eBay. Although it’s worth £2,000 I bagged it for £800 as it was during the Olympic Games and nobody else was looking!” Finally the couple had the new kitchen-living-dining room decorated in Limed White by Farrow & Ball and Penny chose her favourite duck egg blue for the soft furnishings and lamp shades.
Four of Penny’s bathrooms are very contemporary and the couple have decided they now prefer a traditional design for the more practical and comfortable aspects. “Some of the contemporary features are a bit too tiny and trendy,” she says. So they decided to install their fifth bathroom on the ground floor as a guest en suite, this time with a Victorian look. This room had once been the site of a large bedroom and Penny wanted plenty of space.
“I picked a double-ended freestanding slipper bath in acrylic as the design is so nice but next time I’d choose it in a more substantial material like reconstituted stone,” says Penny. The bath is below the window because one side of the room is a walk-in wet room and the other contains a large Victorian-style wash basin on a chrome stand by Burlington.
There is also a matching lavatory, a Burlington Victorian close-coupled WC, with a white wooden seat and a higher pedestal than many WCs have nowadays. The heated towel rail is in a traditional style too. “I picked earthy natural tones for this room to reflect the outside scenery. The floor is pale limestone - I wanted something non-slip - and the wet room tiles are in a light marble, rather expensive but they look great.”
She finishes, “We built and designed this house just exactly the way we wanted it and I don’t think we’d ever find anywhere else to match it. The terrace and pool on a hot day are so glorious you feel as if you’re in the Mediterranean.”