The Overall Winner of this year’s Daily Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovating Awards is living proof that modern design can also make for a warm, comfortable and practical family home — indeed, it rather leaves you wondering why everyone else doesn’t do it quite like this.
While this remarkable self build in south-east London, the home of architect Jake Edgley of Edgley Design and his family, now oozes effortless style, the starting point for the project was not without its challenges. Indeed, the Edgleys faced a six-year long journey battling the plot itself, risking the unknown in the process.
- Name: Jake Edgley
- Build cost: £2,000/m²
- Build time: 1 year 3 months
- Location: Dulwich, London
The plot in question had originally been a Victorian fruit orchard, but had since become a derelict backland site surrounded by houses and filled with trees growing from piles of rubbish. The neighbours were nervous about the trees on site being cut down, so the council had agreed to place a blanket Tree Preservation Order on the site until an agreement could be reached on which trees needed to be removed — a process which took a year. Despite receiving 70 objections, the Edgleys won planning permission at appeal.
“The bank said they’d fund the project and we started clearing the site using our savings, but then the bank turned round and said they couldn’t see the point of what we were doing and wouldn’t lend us the money. We had to sell our house as fast as possible and move into rental to fund the project.”
“When I first stepped on site I was attracted by the wilderness appearance and could envisage a house snaking around the existing 100-year-old pear tree on site, creating an internal courtyard design which allows the house to look inward and offer privacy,” says Jake. “As the pear tree’s root protection area spans the full width of the site, however, the house ended up in two halves and the only way of connecting the two was to build a bridge structure which doesn’t touch the ground but instead sits on steelwork.”
With a friend working as site manager and teams of people on board to handle the different tasks one section at a time, everyone worked hard to get the project done.
The concrete used in the structure provides the building with a lot of thermal mass. The solar-coated glazing on the southern elevations also prevents overheating in the summer months. The use of low-toxicity products was also a key part of the brief.
Photographer: Jack Hobhouse c/o Edgley Architects