Set on the Gower peninsular in South Wales, Andrew and Chrissy Sandbrooks’s new-build home is one of outstanding architectural beauty that they can enjoy come rain or shine
For most self-builders, the time spent awaiting planning permission generally means a couple of months of nail-biting tension until that all-important letter lands on your doormat. However, for Andrew and Chrissy Sandbrook, those two months turned into 14; and although a house of outstanding architectural beauty now graces the plot that was once home to a dated, three bedroom dormer bungalow, it wasn’t achieved without a fight.
Having initially submitted plans to build a box-shaped, glass-clad, two-storey house with an angular roof section (it was turned down because of the ridge height), the couple were beginning to think they were never going to build their own home. ‘Our luck finally turned when we met husband and wife team Kristian and Kay Hyde of Hyde + Hyde Architects,’ says Chrissy.
Chrissy describes how the Hydes took pains to understand their lifestyle before presenting them with initial design ideas. ‘We love eating outside and will fire up the barbeque come rain or shine,’ the couple say. ‘Andrew will eat his breakfast outside every day,’ confirms Chrissy. The Hydes architectural philosophy of respecting the location and trying to understand the building and its site suited the Sandbrooks’ caring approach to their new home. ‘The architects agreed that we should do the plot justice,’ says Chrissy, who is sure that the previous owners would approve of the part-render, part-slate and part-oak house with zinc roof that now stands where theirs once did. The new home is a modern interpretation of a traditional Welsh longhouse.
In the kitchen, a solid oak dining table is a nod to the rural and traditional factors that inspired the design process and sleek, practical units provide plentiful storage. When you walk in to the living space you are greeted with a mesmerising view of the sweeping countryside, and you almost have to remind yourself that the house hasn’t always been there.
A double shower in the master suite is lit from above by a huge skylight, and the striking twin washbasins add a luxurious feel. ‘Kristian and Kay came up with the idea of creating a longer section in the form of a guest wing, taking inspiration from a traditional Welsh house type, with the most used part of the house centred in a cosier, more box-like structure,’ explains Chrissy. 'What we’ve ended up with is what we should have had originally – it just took a couple of inspired architects to unite our wish list, along with strict planning guidelines to create a beautiful, functional home that sits perfectly within its location.’
Chrissy and Andrew really live in every inch of their home, save the guest wing which is just that: it’s somewhere friends and family can stay comfortably with the added benefit of a small patio area at the end that provides yet another outdoor entertaining area. Essentially, it’s like any other home; humble in what it offers its owners. A space to live in; it just has the added wow factor because it has been so carefully considered – and a stunning location, of course.
Architect Hyde + Hyde
Architects (01792 420 838; hydearchitects.com)
Structural engineer Clarke Bond (clarkebond.com)
Kitchen Oakwood Kitchens (01495 249 745; oakwood-kitchens.com)
Appliances Caple (0117 9381900; caple.co.uk)
Flooring Tiles Porcelain (0191378 3896; tilesporcelain.co.uk)
Furniture E15 Bigfoot dining table, Eames DSR chairs and La Palma Lem bar stools, all from Momentum (029 20236266; momentumcardiff.com)
Walk-in shower and twin basins Vogue Bathrooms (+353 1 812 8200; voguebathrooms.co.uk)
Bath QX Bathrooms(qxbathrooms.co.uk)
Land cost £330,000
Total build cost £630,000