Tony and Valerie Bradley have replaced an ailing family bungalow with not one but two self builds – a home for their retirement and a second to fund the project – for just over £300,000.
When Tony and Valerie Bradley decided to build a home for their retirement, the perfect plot – in an enviable coastal setting with wonderful sea views – was already at their disposal. Valerie had inherited a timber frame bungalow in this stunning location in 1976, on the death of her grandmother, and she and Tony went on to run the single storey property as a holiday letting business for over 25 years.
- Name: Tony and Valerie Bradley
- Build cost: £153,000 (each)
- Build time: 1 year 4 months
- Location: Anglesey
“We all loved the bungalow and had had some wonderful times there, but it was getting more and more expensive to maintain and we were spending a huge amount of time and money on DIY repairs” explains Tony.
In 2002, the couple successfully applied for outline planning permission to replace the three bedroom property with two new houses. One of the new builds would serve as a home for their retirement, while the other would be sold to pay for the project.
“We liked the idea of a fast build time, which timber frame seemed to offer, but we wanted a bespoke design and this seemed to push up the price considerably,” explains Valerie. As fortune had it, a leaflet was pushed through the door advertising Heron Lake Homes, a family-run business producing timber frames on site in Snowdonia. “We were really impressed with the company, who also recommended our architectural designer, Peter Matischok,” says Tony. “We went to great lengths to keep the ridge height no higher than the chimney on the previous bungalow – choosing a split-level layout to avoid creating too big an impact on the surrounding area – and after a couple of tweaks Peter produced exactly what we wanted.”
Both three-bed houses were to be virtually identical, with highly insulated timber frames and rendered blockwork external walls, slate roofs and balconies overlooking the sea. The Bradleys were subsequently granted full planning permission within just four weeks.
The couple agreed a fixed price with Heron Lake Homes to undertake the build, and this foresight proved invaluable when difficult foundations and poor weather delayed the build. Due to the exposed coastal location, the large gable windows needed to be strengthened in order to withstand potential 120-mile-per-hour gusts. Self-cleaning glass was also fitted to combat the inevitable buildup of salt spray. “We only need to hose down the glass and the windows are instantly clean,” explains Valerie.
The couple’s own home, ‘Pulrose’, now stands on the slightly larger plot and was the first house to be completed, with ‘Cornerways’ finished a few months later. “Moving back to Anglesey has now allowed us to revisit all kinds of childhood memories,” he continues. “Taking on two builds could have been a recipe for disaster, but we’re glad we didn’t sell the plot for someone else to develop. It’s been in our family for so many years and now we’ve been able to make it our own.”