Sue and Ian Pinks have replaced a 1950s house with a striking oak frame home — all in just nine months.

We weren’t looking for a plot at all,” says Sue, “we just wanted to move house.” However, having found nothing that caught their eye, the couple decided to view a late-1950s Colt house. “It was awful, made from cheap wood and fibreboard — I hated it,” remembers Sue. “But the view was lovely and there was a beautiful old wall running around it” and so the couple decided to give it a go, despite “not being into doing things up”.

Plans were drawn up for an extension to the existing house. However, when the designer suggested they bulldoze the house and start again to save VAT, Ian jumped at the chance.

Ian was keen on the idea of a timber frame house and having researched several companies, the couple decided that a frame from Oakwrights would be best suited to them. The new house has been designed to sit in the same position as the old one. Sitting at the top of the sloping plot, the U-shaped house takes full advantage of the rural views and was designed to make the most of the sun as it moves around the building.

Planning was initially rejected on the grounds that the house would be too tall. With the help of a planning consultant however and the use of slides, which showed “that the old house was actually taller than the new one” explains Sue, the plans were eventually passed.

The old house was bulldozed in just a day and a half, and work on the new house began in May 2007. The Pinks’ new house is three storeys, with a cellar housing Ian’s study and a utility room. On the ground floor the large kitchen runs almost the entire depth of the house, with wraparound windows to one end where the breakfast area is located, taking full advantage of the views beyond.

The kitchen leads into the centre of the house, the dramatic vaulted dining hall, which has access out onto the new terrace. The large living room leads off from the dining hall and features an exposed section of the timber frame, which acts as a partial room divide between the living area and the sunroom.

Sue feels that forward planning and organisation were key to the smooth build process for them. “We love living here,” says Sue, “the timber frame is lovely to live with despite the fact that over time it has moved and shrunk – by about 10 percent – meaning we need to fill a few cracks now.”

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