David and Margie Edwards left no stone unturned in their quest to build a luxurious individual home in Cheshire. Their extensive self-build, which includes a home cinema, swimming pool and two orangeries is truly a grand design.
Cheshire businessman David Edwards is not a man to do things by halves. So when he and wife Margie decided to build their own home, they threw themselves into every aspect of the project in just the same way they would conduct themselves in business.
It all started with the site — a one-acre backland plot on which a 1960s bungalow sat, on one of the best streets on the edge of town. For David and Margie it faced the wrong way, and so the first thing they wanted to do was turn the whole thing around. Secondly, they wanted something bigger in terms of floor area but, owing to planning restrictions, not adding much in terms of footprint. “We opted to dig down,” explains David, “in order to address these two issues — but as you can imagine, it was quite a challenge.
David and Margie worked with a couple of architects to come up with the Classically inspired design scheme however in the end they enlisted the services of John Riddle of ARC Design Service. The result is awesome — a Classical home with great big windows and plenty of stonework.
The house is quite an achievement — ambitious in scale (it comes in at a whopping 1,300m2), design and construction, as well as innovative in its use of features. Having done lots of research, David set his heart on using insulated concrete formwork (ICF — effectively a hollow polystyrene block filled on site with concrete) from Polarwall for the external walls, due in part to its sensible construction principles but also its high insulative properties — the achieved U-value is just 0.19. David also opted for a grass driveway.
The interiors are a remarkable achievement, with great proportions and an elegant style that marries contemporary and traditional perfectly. Margie took responsibility for these and made the most of sterling help from her friend Carol – “she has a great eye for style,” says Margie – and also used the services of Tim Barnetti. The highlights of the interior include two brilliant orangeries and a sleek, modern Bontempi kitchen that opens out onto the large patio.
Taller-than-average ceiling heights help with the feeling of grandeur and the rooms are dotted with well-chosen light fittings and statement pieces. Much of the basement has been turned into a leisure area with a home cinema, changing rooms and one of the largest indoor swimming pools you could hope to see, situated in place of the former home’s garage.
Having researched the project to within an inch of its life, David and Margie are, quite rightly, delighted with the result. It’s a mix of high-quality traditional design and innovative construction methods — a testament to the effort the couple went to during the process. “We are so happy with it,” says David. “It’s everything we wanted, and we love living here.”