Tucked away behind an unassuming suburban row of 1930’s semi-detached houses in Forest Hill, one mans grand design is steadily becoming increasingly recognisable as a beautiful & modern home. The building, a beautiful combination of Douglas Fir and large glass panels, sits to the rear and above of the line of existing houses amongst a copse of great oaks. From here there are fantastic panoramic views across London, but yet the city feels distant, secluded even from the immediate surrounding roads.
There is little evidence from the street that anything is happening here, the house is not visible from road, apart from a white van parked at the bottom of the steep, narrow track on most days. The limited access to the site has been a constant issue.
Jamie approached naganjohnson in Spring 2001 to seek planning advice on the infill land at the back of his mothers house as he had a notion he might like to build something there. The site however had a history of previous failed planning attempts.
The road, peculiarly, was always missing a number 25, indicating that something was always intended for this plot.
Prior to gaining planning permission the design altered many times as the scheme was negotiated through the planning process. Initially Jamie wanted to build two houses, but the planners reduced this to allow only one dwelling removing the need for an access road to the site, and in May 2003 planning permission was finally granted.
Access has also been an issue during the build itself.
When large timber beams were delivered to site, there was no way to make the 100 metre ascent up the steep narrow track by vehicle. Luckily for Jamie his brother was working on a nearby building site and he was able to borrow some man-power, and within the hour the beams were on site.
Jamie is a mechanic and has never embarked on such a project before, though he describes himself as always being handy. The lack of skills and experience were things that naganjohnson envisaged could have become issues, however Jamie has risen to the challenge.
It was expected that the build might last two to three years, but Jamie says there was never a rush, and between laying floor boards and putting on roofing tiles, he has had to resume work under the bonnet of a car.
On occasion there will be a phone call or a visit from Jamie, just to remind us that No.25 is still in progress, shortly to be complete bringing some numerical uniformity to the street joining its some what aged neighbours.