Friday, 14 August 2015

A wonderful new home

After a nana nap at lunchtime last Saturday on our return to Molly’s from the wedding festivities and after match function, the three of us went to visit two of Molly’s sons, Vince and Gordon, Gordon’s wife Sharon and one of their sons, David. Plus the lovely dogs who would make ideal boating dogs, we decided …

Gordon and Sharon’s property outside of Abinger Hammer was probably once a farm, but is now a business park with lots of large barns that people rent from G&S for various purposes. Some years ago Gordon and Sharon had their old wooden house torn down and commenced building a new home. For a variety of reasons, the construction has taken longer than they expected, so due to recalcitrant behaviour at the planning department in the local council and partly due to pressure of other work. But they are now within a couple of months of moving in. So for the last 7 or so years, they have lived in a 3 bedroomed chalet-type place which is very lovely, but nowhere near big enough for them.

The new house is stunning and is beautifully crafted. At one point when we visited a few years ago, Vince, who lives in one of their barns along with his motorbikes, was spending his days whittling oak ‘nails’ (about 8 – 10 inches long to go through the solid oak beams) to be used instead of the metal variety. Then Gordon discovered that he could buy them for a quid each so Vince moved on to other more cost effective work on the house.

The finishing touches are being done and Sharon’s kitchen is beautiful – I say Sharon’s kitchen because there is a clear demarcation not only of duties, but spaces. Gordon has a section of the room that the kitchen occupies, for the wine – bench, wine coolers, glasses racks, wine racks … He has even claimed (but not with much success, I bet) the use of the large fridge that sits within ‘his’ area. While the kitchen is Sharon’s, he was very happy to show us the gadgetry and I was most impressed with the extractor – it rises up at the touch of a button from within the bench behind the hob. If I had seen that in NZ when we were doing the Café Rata kitchen, I may well have been tempted! And Sharon has not one but two cooking towers in her kitchen – a double oven, plus a tower containing a microwave and a steam oven. I do hope she is going to make use of them or I will have to relocate them to Café Rata …

The twin towers and behind the hob is the extractor. There is an under-bench fridge, the cupboard in the far corner is one of those nifty designs that, when the door is opened, pulls out two racks, one directly behind the door and one from back in the corner. I am not sure if the piece of timber under the bench is a design feature or a piece of timber waiting to move to its proper home ... I love the T&G surrounds. Gordon's wine kitchen is off to the right of the photo.

I was most impressed with the bathrooms as well – in particular the ensuite for G&S’s room. It is as big as our bedroom and I think the whole inside square footage of the boat would fit within it!  
Sharon's bath with the waterfall tap - all taps in their bathroom are of this style

Mmm, two shower heads in Gordon's shower - maybe he is quite grubby ...

And the shower drain that I really like - similar to Bruce's, and I am keen to have that in Cafe Rata
A basin each as well as a towel rail each! Yay!!

The landscaping is taking shape and the brick and stone work is beautifully designed and constructed. G&S’s son Nick works with Gordon and Vince and another couple of chaps.

There are a number of terraces (decks we would call them), and each one has something special about it – positioned for the sunset, positioned for the view down the hill, positioned to make the best use of the conservatory and the lounge.
The dining room opens on to this terrace that leads down to the pond and part of the garden.
Sharon and Gordon standing on the deck outside their bedroom - a lovely place to sit in the evening.
Outside the front door. There is a large atrium with a curved staircase against the internal wall. The large windows above the front door allow a view from the large landing where a couple of armchairs will be positioned.

This room is Gordon's office - he says a desk, a TV and his motorbike will live in there ... But so he can keep an eye on what is happening in the lounge (in case he is missing out on any fun) he has a full length, soft close, glass sliding door. Lovely.

The end room is the conservatory with the hot tub ready to be installed outside. It is obvious that the grandchildren come to visit - the trike with wheelbarrow-type trailer is a give-away.

In the main, the design of the whole place – house and grounds – is Gordon’s. He has an excellent eye for the end game as well as keeping a close eye on the detail as he progresses. It has the feel of a labour of love, not that he would do anything but scoff at that girlie notion, I am sure!

We are really pleased that it is coming together – it’ll be lovely to stay with them when we are over next year. The guest room is pretty special …

We have asked them to come and spend some time on the boat with us next year and they have been requested to bring the dogs. It won’t be quite so luxurious, but the food will be good and I’ll make sure there is plenty of NZ wine to give them a special treat!

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