Through the keyhole: A Scandinavian-style home in Stroud
PUBLISHED: 16:11 12 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:11 12 July 2019
When Lucy and Ross Orton made their longed-for move from London, they stumbled across a 1960s detached near to Stroud and set about making it their own
Lucy and Ross Orton spent 13 years in London - longer than intended - but after two of their three children were born they decided to move to the Cotswolds.
"We had looked in Bristol initially as I have family there," says Lucy. "But we couldn't seem to find what we were looking for until we came to the Stroud area."
There they found a quiet little town which offered all the fresh air, green countryside and slower pace of life they were looking for, and in August 2016 made the move. Ross had a new job in education and Lucy could continue her work as a positive psychology coach.
Their new home was a tired and dated 1960s detached house of faux Cotswold stone on a housing estate and nothing seemed to have changed much inside.
"There was a lot of blue patterned Axminster carpeting," says Lucy. "The single-glazed windows and front door were broken and insecure, and the back garden, while all right, wasn't suitable for the children with its pond and dense foliage. It was all a bit dismal. The garage wasn't even wide enough for a car! But we loved the location with its amazing backdrop of the hills and closeness to the town centre and it had enough garden at the back for us to see how we could extend it."
The Ortons deliberately chose it as a project as they had renovated their two previous houses.
"The last one was a 1930s terraced house which was big enough for us once we had created a loft extension but the garden was like a postage stamp. We wanted more space for the children to play in."
However, once in their new four-bedroomed home they couldn't begin the extension straight away as by then Lucy was expecting her third child.
Once their baby son Inigo (now two) was born in the following December the couple approached Simon Heckford of Oasys Property Solutions and he drew up plans for a single-storey wrap-around extension.
This included an extension to the front, which partly replaced an external porch, another at the side incorporating the too-narrow garage, and one at the back of some 3.3 metres to create a much bigger kitchen/dining/living space.
It was quite a startling design especially at the front of the house which was now angled and clad in a charcoal composite material called Cedral. "We wanted to create a stark contrast with the rather drab faux stone," says Simon, who was their project manager. "The clients were very keen on the designs from the outset, and I'm delighted that even the bright orange front door that we suggested has just been installed - most clients wouldn't have been so brave.
"However, I was expecting a fair amount of resistance from the neighbours when we submitted the planning application."
He adds, "Many of them had lived in the area for decades. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover there was a great amount of support, not only from elderly neighbours but also from further away."
One comment sent in to the planners included the statement: "There has been something of a stranglehold on homes (on this estate), insisting on a bland homogeneity for the area. It's high time owners were given a little more latitude to add more architectural interest and individuality so they can grow with the homes they love."
There was some opposition but with various adjustments the plans were passed and work began in October 2017 till completion in June 2018.
"We reconfigured the ground floor rooms at the same time as extending," says Lucy. Now the house has almost gone from 116 sq metres to 172 sq metres.
Downstairs the rooms include a hallway, sitting room, a big kitchen-living-dining room, guest bedroom, bathroom and utility cupboard. Upstairs there are still four bedrooms and a bigger bathroom thanks to their incorporating an unwanted linen cupboard.
Their builders were JAS Building Services of Patchway who also laid new floating flooring of engineered oak throughout the ground floor, did some rewiring and installed a new Ideal Vogue combi boiler and radiators.
"We created storage wherever we could," says Andrew Sperring, projects director of JAS.
Dean Treadwell fitted the new double-glazed Internorm windows and external doors while the kitchen and bathrooms were all supplied by designer and maker Guy Rowlands of GWR Furniture
"Despite extending we haven't lost any garden," says Lucy. "That's because the builders pushed the bank behind us quite a long way back and built a retaining wall."
Lucy is particularly pleased with her light and airy kitchen and blue Falcon range cooker. She also likes her built-in Dimplex fireplace in the sitting room which looks realistic but as it's electric means it's smokeless so safer for the children.
"We had a vision of a light, bright and spacious Scandinavian-themed home," says Lucy. "And I love the result."
Andrew Sperring of JAS, 01454532092, JASbuildingservices.co.uk
Guy Rowlands of GWR Furniture, 07933 519721
Hamilton Floors & Doors 01603 404080, doorsandfloors.co.uk
Simon Heckford of Oasys Property Solutions, 0117 9735900 or 07974 083476, oasysps.com
Treadwell Window & Door Solutions, 07786 730804 or 0117 3823401, treadwellwindows.co.uk