Eco-friendly seaside home

A renovated seaside bungalow with solar panels, wood burning stoves and a sedum roof

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With their children growing up and leaving home, Lynn and Brian Scholfield decided the time was finally right to tackle their first renovation project and give a dated bungalow a stylish eco transformation. ‘Over the years we’ve been fortunate to live in far-flung places such as Hong Kong and New Zealand because of Brian’s job but, until recently, it always made more sense to rent than buy,’ Lynn explains.

When the couple, who are originally from Canada, initially moved to Jersey in 1999, they rented a quaint but run-down granite farmhouse in the middle of the island. ‘The beaches on Jersey are beautiful and, gradually, we started hankering after a property closer to the coast,’ says Lynn. ‘With our children going away to university, I could see that my position as a stay-at-home mum was soon going to be made redundant and I needed a new challenge.’

Fact file

The owners: Lynn Scholfield (right), a housewife, lives here with her husband Brian, who is a lawyer. Their three children, Amberley, 23, Spencer, 21, and Oliver, 18, study abroad but come home when possible

Determined not to settle for second best, Lynn searched high and low to find just the right renovation project. ‘I became hooked on searching the internet for houses,’ recalls Lynn. ‘I must have looked at the details of at least 50 properties that seemed reasonably suitable and I viewed about a dozen.’ This painstakingly thorough approach eventually reaped rewards when Lynn discovered a rather dated bungalow situated to the north-west of the island in the parish of St Ouen.

‘It was exactly what we wanted,’ she explains. ‘I knew that being just a stone’s throw from the beach would be wonderful. I could already picture the children heading to the shore with surfboards under their arms. And while I really liked the sea views from the bungalow, and its proximity to the beach, the most attractive aspect of the property was that its former owners had recently semi-renovated it. This would mean that we could live in part of the property while our own renovation was carried out.’

Having bought the bungalow, in June 2008 the couple and their youngest son moved in and began planning the stylish transformation. ‘The previous owners had extended and renovated the living room, dining room and a bedroom to the rear of the bungalow, but the rest of the property was a bit of a maze, with spaces that had been added on ad hoc during various extensions,’ says Lynn. ‘It had too many walls, narrow corridors and no sense of flow. The standard of building work in this part of the property was fairly poor, too.’

Unsure about how to reconfigure this jumble of rooms, the Scholfields decided to call in the experts. Lynn contacted three architects and met with each of them to discuss their plans for the property. ‘Of the three, Tim Skudder of Nigel Biggar was the one I clicked with most,’ Lynn reveals. ‘He was great and very patient, which was fortunate, since it took Tim, Brian and me many hours of drawing, tweaking and a total of 16 drafts before we’d fine-tuned the plans enough to suit our needs. Originally, we did have a budget in mind, but, as plans changed, this inevitably increased.’

One of the couple’s main priorities was incorporating plenty of environmentally friendly elements into their home, as an attempt to offset the carbon footprint of their frequent trips to Canada to visit family. Having carried out extensive research, the Scholfields decided to install an air-source heat pump, solar panels, several green roofs, good-quality insulation and windows, plus hot water underfloor heating into their remodelled property.

To create a more workable layout, the Scholfields repositioned walls and bathrooms and changed the use of several rooms. A bright new sunroom was built, one of the bedrooms was extended to provide ample space for a new en suite, while a garage at the front of the bungalow was converted into a bedroom with a new bay window. Outside, new additions included a garden room and garage, and the garden was landscaped.

‘This property has a covenant stating that we couldn’t build upwards, but we didn’t want to anyway,’ Lynn explains. ‘In fact, we didn’t actually increase our footprint by very much. It was more a question of using the space we already had very creatively to make it work for us.’

Thankfully, the Scholfields didn’t experience any trouble in gaining planning permission for their renovation. ‘Jersey is notorious for its strict planning regulations but, right from the outset, we were very respectful of this, and pleased that planning was passed without any queries,’ Lynn says.

Before launching into the building work, the Scholfields commissioned designer Paul Haslam to design and install a sleek bespoke kitchen for their new-look home. ‘After the kitchen went in, the builders who had been recommended by our architect came on site,’ says Lynn. ‘Their first job for the project was to build the separate outdoor garden room, which has a sedum roof. Having the new kitchen installed first worked well in minimising the disruption, as we were able to cook in the kitchen while living and sleeping in the already renovated section of the house. Our son Oliver was quite happy to sleep outside in the new garden room during this time, too.’

Being on site, Lynn was able to keep a close eye on the building work, and she found this a huge advantage as any queries could be addressed immediately. The bulk of the project took about eight months to complete and then another three months to finish the snagging list and decorate.

‘In hindsight, our one regret is that we didn’t replace all the windows to match the new ones we chose for the sunroom and the bay in Spencer’s bedroom,’ Lynn admits. ‘The previous owners had fitted the rest of the windows in the house not long before we moved in and, at the time, we felt replacing these would be an extravagance. Now we feel this was a mistake.’

Apart from that, Lynn and Brian are delighted with their home and glad that all their planning and attention to detail has paid off. ‘We wanted to give our home a boutique hotel look with clean simple lines and we feel we’ve achieved this,’ says Lynn. ‘We’ve kept it simple, light and bright by using natural stone, real wood and as many locally sourced products as possible.’

Recently, when a plane flew over Jersey during a thermal imaging survey, the couple’s home showed up in black, indicating on the heat loss map that it is one of the most energy-efficient properties on the island. ‘It was fantastic news,’ says Lynn. ‘The whole project has been great. We love our new home but, having now completed one project, I have to admit that if I could find another fabulous location, I could easily be tempted to tackle another.’

The costs

Construction work£373,000
Garden room£40,000
Architect, quantity surveyor and structural engineer£40,000
Bathrooms and utility room£30,000
Soft furnishings£23,000
Hot tub£15,000
Solar panels£10,000
Wood-burning stoves£6,300
Home office£5,000