For Gill and Stewart Siddall, selling their beautiful listed home was not an easy decision. Over the past 15 years, the two had grown very fond of their fantastic view of the British North Sea and the river in front of their house. Why would anyone give up something like that?
“Although our previous house was beautiful, it had a major disadvantage. It was right by the North Sea and therefore very windy, and there were always draughts in the old house. The heating costs went through the roof,” notes homeowner Stewart Siddall.
“We are often in Scandinavia for work – even in the cold months of January and February – and are always fascinated by the fact that there are houses there that handle the cold climate perfectly and can be heated cost-efficiently. We thought to ourselves, this must be possible at home too,” says Gill Siddall.
With their new home, the owners wished to change not only their house but also the location, and looked for a building plot near the holiday home of Gill’s parents in Scotland.
“We spent many lovely holidays there and could see ourselves living in the area. The fact that we found a suitable building plot there so quickly was a real stroke of luck,” says Gill Siddall happily. They were fortunate because the almost 2 hectare plot offered a beautiful south-facing view of a wide valley and the nearby Ochil Hills, an impressive 35 km-long Scottish range of hills.
|House name||passive house|
|Living space||269,00 m²|
|Number of floors||1|
|Year of construction||2014|
|Level of completion||Turnkey houses|
A little while later, the homebuilder came across an English construction magazine somewhat by chance. It reported on modern prefabricated timber construction, which makes it possible to complete entire construction projects in next to no time. Efficient, fast and easy – that’s exactly what the client was looking for.
“I always found that building conventionally for months and having the house open and exposed was too much of a risk with the Scottish weather. I heard so many horror stories of building damage, humidity and rising costs due to delays. When I read in my internet research that Hanse Haus can make a house rainproof after just one or two days, I was quite impressed. That was just the thing I needed!” the client recalls.
Not only was the construction speed a priority but also the individual planning possibilities which Hanse Haus offered its clients.
Just one email later and the couple was already in contact with Christian Wittke of Hanse Haus in Scotland. First, they looked through the existing plans together, optimising many of their aspects. A very important change was the suggestion to build a basement under the bungalow, thereby making the best possible use of the hillside location. Although this had been high on the clients’ wish list for a long time, none of the local construction partners really dared implement it.
“Only Hanse Haus made this possible with its partner companies,” the client was pleased to note.
“The idea with the basement was perfect. It enabled us to build into the hillside, and although we had two full storeys, the ridge height was lower than that of the neighbours’ houses. So the building permit was also no problem.”
Even though contact with Hanse Haus in Scotland was good from the very beginning, the clients had the understandable desire to get to know the potential construction partner on site.
“Everything was so structured and precise. It made so much sense to do a large part of the work in the best climatic conditions and protected from the wind and weather in the factory. Even the triple-glazed windows and the requested exterior roller shutters were already pre-assembled,” recalls Gill Siddall of the visit to Germany.
“Of course, we also looked carefully at the show homes, and especially the Fixture Centre. I have very exact ideas and was very pleasantly surprised by the huge selection of high-quality products such as tiles, wooden floors and even beautiful zinc gutters.”
The result is something to behold. The entrance to the home is at the back of the house, and from there it leads to a closed hallway and a separate toilet.
From the hallway a door opens to the heart of the house: the living and dining area with open kitchen. The entire area has floor-to-ceiling windows that provide breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Particularly beautiful is the view over the hills of Scotland from the adjoining balcony with glass railing.
A large utility room and a walk-in pantry are directly accessible from the kitchen. Moreover, there is a bedroom on the ground floor with a balcony and adjoining bathroom that can be used as a guest room.
A staircase made of oak and glass leads from the ground floor to the basement – a special eye-catcher is the impressive bookshelf which extends over both storeys. The basement consists of the master bedroom with its own bathroom and a separate dressing room, a living room and an office. All rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and offer views of the surrounding landscape.
As for technical installations as well, Gill and Stewart Siddall have found the perfect combination and enjoy the benefits of a plus-energy house.
“Not only do we generate electricity ourselves through a photovoltaic system, we can also feed overproduction into the local power grid. For this we receive a fixed compensation per kilowatt hour. Although we live in a rather cool area of Scotland and also use the electricity generated to operate the geothermal heat pump, we definitely generate more electricity than we consume. That means that in the end, we even make money. Isn’t that great? This is also due to a large extent to the extremely well-insulated building envelope – draughts, which we had in our old house, are no longer an issue here,” says the couple.