‘There’s so much you can do with space like that’
A hillside was seen as a challenge rather than an obstacle when Howard and Julia Shaw began thinking how they could extend their 2-bed cottage in Esholt.
The idea came from a chance meeting when Howard was visiting a friend’s house nearby and bumped into surveyor discussing plans for building work.
His friend recommended Ashfield Builders and “the next thing I knew, Brendon from the company was sitting in our kitchen, chatting over how best to excavate into the hill,” remembers Howard.
A month of digging and earthworks was required to create space for the double storey extension to the property, which is partly below ground level.
Transformed into an L-shape, Howard says the couple’s cottage is “much, much more interesting”.
He adds: “It’s at least 60 per cent bigger and one of the features we enjoy the most is a 40ft living room; there’ so much you can do with space like that.”
The couple now have a “very large” main bedroom with en-suite wetroom plus a new house bathroom in addition to the existing bedrooms.
They enjoy relaxing in a hillside garden, accessed through French doors from their bedroom, which are mirrored below by doors from the living room leading out to a courtyard.
“Brendon was our site manager and came to many meetings,” says Howard. “He gave us good advice and always had ideas of how to solve problems, especially with the new living room as two of the walls are below ground.”