Contemporary family home offers easy living
Tucked away down a long gravel driveway in a peaceful, discreet village location, Hirondelles is a striking contemporary designer home expertly built to the current owners’ specifications by Gusto Construction Ltd.
This attractive, individual house has proved a dream come true for owners Mike and Jan Burnside, who shared a vision to design and build a spacious, light, airy and welcoming family home.
“We bought a derelict barn with adjacent building plot here in 1986 with no intention of moving house, but after our three children had flown the nest and were settled, we decided to build on the plot and downsize,” explains retired hairdresser Jan.
“After my father died, my mother decided she would like to buy the barn so we lived in it together while Hirondelles was built.
“It took our wonderful builders, Gusto Construction, only about six months to build and I can’t praise them highly enough. I chose this company because they have lots of experience in eco-friendly building and between them and our architects, we have achieved exactly what we set out to do.
“Anyone who has built a house from scratch will know the difficulties, but Gusto Construction never made any problems mine, but solved them as they went along and the standard of all the work was exceptional. We moved in on Bonfire Night in November 2010, just in time to enjoy a lovely family Christmas.”
This four-bedroom exclusive house stands in pleasant, enclosed grounds on the rural fringe of the small village of Upton, with fine views from many rooms over neighbouring farmland up to the north Lincoln cliff escarpment.
Together with its creative, individual design, it also benefits from many well thought out modern living facilities, such as underfloor heating throughout, solar voltaic roof panels, a rainwater harvesting and purification system and other enhanced performance specifications, typical of many eco-homes built by Gusto.
“We attempted to build into our house as many convenient things that would make living easy, and also include some beautiful features such as the staircase and lovely kitchen, which was made by Tim Rinaldi at Hall Farm, Harpswell.
“Tim was a star as my requirements were unusual and a little more difficult than a run of the mill kitchen but he insists that it was an interesting project!” explains Jan, who reveals that she named their home after the French word for swallows, “because we have lots here and I’ve loved them since I was a child”.
Step through the large open entrance porch and into the feature hallway with oak flooring and the first thing that catches your eye is the outstanding serpentine oak staircase up to the first floor with striking bespoke ironwork.
“I have always loved the beautiful organic shapes of the Art Nouveau movement and wanted to incorporate some into our house,” says Jan. “I designed the staircase with this in mind and the artisan blacksmiths, Spitfire Forge at Harpswell, were so receptive and helpful in helping me to achieve the beautiful staircase that we now have.”
The large dining/kitchen area overlooking the kitchen garden and grounds features a Neff steam oven and ceramic hob, and burr oak units with Kashmir Gold granite work surfaces and is the hub of the house.
“We have had lovely Christmas and other celebrations here, which are a joy to remember. The kitchen makes it easy to prepare food and not to be cut off from the guests while doing so.”
Upstairs on the first floor is a large master bedroom with a feature bay window overlooking the gardens with a dressing room (which could also be used as a nursery) and ensuite bathroom with feature travertine tiling and attractive Salome marble worktops to the oval sink unit and storage unit.
“It’s difficult to choose a favourite room as I love them all,” says Jan, “but we spend most of our time in the kitchen/living room. I use one of the spare bedrooms as a workroom for sewing and making silver jewellery and every time I walk up or down the stairs, I appreciate the beauty of the work which has gone into them.”
Enjoying outdoor space
To the southern and eastern side of the house lies formal landscaped gardens with a sweeping area of lawn and accompanying patio areas onto which both the dining kitchen and sitting room have a direct access.
Taking pride of place is a large raised brick/coped flowerbed/border which contains a wide range of attractive shrubs, trees and flowering plants, including twisted willow, cherry tree, box, cotoneasters, iris, roses, and lavender.
To the south boundary, there is new panel fencing which provides privacy, while a low panel fence to the eastern boundary allows attractive open country views.
A pedestrian gate at the north eastern corner provides access to the enclosed kitchen garden which has been attractively landscaped with gravel bedding areas and accompanying flowerbed/borders in part with a variety of attractive shrubs and herbs.
“To make gardening a little easier, I asked the builders to build some raised beds for me,” explains Jan. “I love gardening but as I get older, I need to reduce the harder work which is why we have split the garden. It is still a large garden by modern standards with interesting serpentine raised beds, large enough for a family but also not too big for older people to manage. The walled garden at the back of the house is also very useful for dogs and provides a lovely enclosed space surrounded by flower beds.”
The village of Upton, which has a well respected grammar school, is conveniently located within just three miles of Gainsborough and 11 miles from Lincoln centre, with easy road connections to both major A roads and motorways.
Jan and Mike, who plans to retire from his well established business Magpie Fabrics this year, say that with daughters Lely and Kate also settled in properties nearby, they plan to remain in the area
“It’s just Mike and me who live here now with our three cats and our dog, Daisy, although our three grown-up children have over the years returned home for spells between jobs, houses and life changes.
“I can honestly say that I have found no difficulties living here. I love Upton, which has its own post office and pub, and people are very nice and friendly (not to mention the wonderful fish and chip shop), which is why I want to remain in the area.
“I hope whoever buys the house will love it as much as we do.”