Partial Article Transcript:
Eco House Kitchen Article
When Caroline and Philip Cooper’s children had flown the nest and they were left rattling around in a 7 bedroom period home. The couple decided it was time for a lifestyle change. Not only did the practicalities of downsizing appeal to them, but they were also drawn to the idea of living in a modern and more sustainable way.
“Our old family home was a 18th Century property built for the Duke of Buccleugh” Caroline explains. “It had been through several families and it was eventually bought by the council in the 1970’s and turned into a children’s home. It then fell into disrepair and we bought it in the 90’s, spending a lot of time and money refurbishing the house over subsequent years”.
With a large garden to maintain and rooms that were now surplus to requirements, the Coopers found that they were increasingly spending their time in the kitchen. “We seriously considered moving the kitchen into the huge drawing room that we rarely used, but it just seemed too dreadful a thing to do and would have ruined the original period interior” Caroline admits. “It became obvious that the house was no longer fit for our needs and both Philip and I felt that we were ready for the challenge of a new build project, combining my Interior Design skills and Philip’s building background”.
The couple began looking for a plot in their local area of Blackheath, South East London but couldn’t find anywhere suitable.
“Our friend suggested that we had a viable plot at the bottom of our garden, but we had never considered it”
Excited by the prospect of a project that was just metres from their back door, the couple asked their son, Sam Cooper, to produce a design package that could be presented to the council for planning consideration. “Sam is into Eco Design (Eco House Kitchen) and, as this had been his family home he knew the house intimately and was attuned to the site” Philip adds “I made up a feasibility sketch and set out a design brief (which included the Eco House Kitchen) to show what we wanted in terms of accomodation, but the final design was very much Sam’s”.
With the constraints of a garden plot, the need to keep the building low so as not to obscure the Coopers Listed former home, and to orientate the new build to the South West to maximise the use of natural daylight, Sam designed an open, L shaped form. This ensured there would be no, one vantage point on the ground where you could see the whole composition. The house was also to have a very high thermal efficiency and plenty of eco (and eco kitchen) features, with an expectation that it would satisfy Level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.
Achieving the exacting Code 5 eco status meant including rainwater harvesting into a tank via the roof and the gaps between the patio tiles, normally reserved for grouting. To be a Code 5 Eco House kitchen all the appliances had to be AAA+ and eco house kitchen taps have restricted water flow
With the build completed in September 2014 the Coopers quickly moved in and quickly embraced their new, technologically advanced, home. “Our house is constantly monitored to see how it’s performing which is fascinating” Caroline says. “If we have built a ground breaking design that could be used as an example for other self-builders, that would be an amazing achievement. As for us, we’re still gettitng used to all the eco house kitchen gadgets, but the whole experience of living in such a unique building is truly invigorating, and heralds an exciting new phase in our lives”.
Chamber Furniture, The Old Timber Yard, London Road, Halstead, Kent, TN14 7DZ. Tel: 01959 532553. www.chamberfurniture.co.uk
Kitchens start from £40,000
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