Kevin McCloud met with couple Chris and Kayo this week who planned to build a unique, Roman-Inspired home on the protected land surrounding one of Britain’s most historic abbeys in Hertfordshire.
But the pair found themselves constrained by stringent planning conditions, and the intricate and complicated build put both their schedule and budget under a great deal of pressure.
Chris and Kayo, with a rough idea of what they wanted out of their new home, also put their trust and faith in their architect Rogan.
Chris, who builds golf centres, had worked with Rogan for over 20 years to design these.
The couple bought a site for their new home next to their old one, but because it was situated on an archaeological site next to an abbey it was difficult to get planning permission.
After six long years of alterations and concessions a design was agreed.
The design of Chris and Kayo’s new home, put together by Rogan, was described by Kevin as part Japanese – inspired by Kayo’s heritage – and part Roman villa.
He said: “It’s not fashionable, it’s unusual.”
The couple hoped to spend in the region of £600,000 on the build and for it to be finished after a year and a half.
But it quickly became apparent to Kevin that the new home was architect Rogan’s vision and he wasn’t sure if the couple even liked it.
Chris said: “It’s something different to where we’ve ever lived before and I’m all for embracing that.”
One year into schedule, the project was already taking longer than expected.
Architect Rogan didn’t just design the outside of the house, but its interior too – even down to the light fixtures.
But this meant a lot more time and money.
After four years, the maple-covered home was just about finished.
Chris said: “The house will never be done. The planting is taking time and we always anticipated that.”
On inspection, Kevin described the house as “remarkable” and “breathtaking”.
While Chris wouldn’t reveal how much the property cost in total to build, he said: “You described me as a patron of Rogan, and I thought you were basically right because I love the guy and worked with him for 20 odd years. But it was a project I was willing share with him and I’m not disappointed I did.”
He added: “It was four years of our life, six years of planning, so ten years all together, and that was the biggest cost.”