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A different take on what a bungalow could look like has created a unique family home in Huddersfield. Heather Dixon takes a look Photographs by Dave Burton

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Bungalows arent the most popular choice for a modern family home especially one that has been created out of an old piggery. But architect Mark Lee had different ideas. Most of us think of a bungalow as a dark, old fashion place with a long corridor with rooms leading off it, he said. I wanted to create sosmething that would take it above and beyond a standard modern bungalow.

Mark and his wife Caroline saw huge potential in a dilapidated old single storey buiilding in the shadow of a tall industrial chimney in Huddersfield surrounded by green belt countryside. They thought it important to keep the chimney as a local landmark. The building offered a great opportunity to create something really exciting, said Mark. loved the setting, the fabric of the building and the fact that we could do something extraordinary with it.

He wanted an open plan living area at the heart of the house with en suite bedrooms leading off from either side. The main rooms would have sliding glass doors overlooking a c entral courtyard. It would have been very easy to build a bungalow with a conventional corridor which would have looked a bit like a tunnel - very closed in and uninspiring,he said.

So angled the walls to be wider at the top and created a feature bookcase at the end of the hall which immediately opened up the space and gave it focus.

We opened the roof space, created open plan living areas, introduced masses of light and added striking design features to turn the concept of a bungalow completely on its head.

Sight lines leading straight through the building, open shelves built between living areas, roof lights and angled support beams were added into the mix to create a design which combined warmth and comfort with high spec finishes and imaginative ideas.

The piggery was originally two single outbuildings which Mark linked with a new section that became the sitting room. It had been empty for years and was quite an eyesore so it wasnt difficult to get planning permission to turn it into a home, said Mark. I think the planners were keen to see it converted and put to good use.

With planning approved Mark built boundary walls to separate it from the adjacent office block where his business is based and began work on the home which would have its own very distinct identity.

The site was cleared of rubbish and the old roof was removed ready for new trusses. Some of the stone walls were so badly damaged they had to be rebuilt using a combination of reclaimed and new materials. The roof timbers were created from new wood and left exposed throughout most of the building to create height and space. Windows in the roof allow light into the main living areas, while the roof itself is finished in blue slate in keeping with neighbouring properties.

Large folding doors were installed in the sitting room and main bedroom, opening into the courtyard directly connecting the rooms with the outdoors.

We were in the fortunate position of being able to call on Yorkshire trades people we have worked with for years through the business, said Mark. We didnt have the problems many self-builders face with people not turning up on time or not achieving the standards we wanted.

he couple shared the same vision for the interior which to a large degree evolved as the design developed. Its not wise to go into a project with plans which are too rigid, said Mark. approached the design like a big jigsaw in which every piece had to fit. i tried to find ways of linking spaces and rooms which were interesting and imaginative. art is in the detail.

Mark chose Douglas fir for the doors, windows and trusses as well as for fittings such as the open-sided bookcase - which created a visual line between the sitting room and kitchen- the deep set bathroom shelves and the off-set fire place. Caroline and Mark chose modern, understated furniture largely from Red Brick Mill, Batley, which suited the modern interior design without spoiling the impact of the buildings original character.

People spend thousands of pounds on houses which have no character and no joy, said Mark. Its important to take a house as an holistic whole. It has to be designed in a way which improves your wellbeing, makes you feel good to live in it. With this in particular, like the fact that people smile when they walk in and see the house opening up in front of them. A home should have a feel good factor and thats exactly what we have here.



The print version of this article appeared in the January 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life

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