“We were looking for a house that would become our dream family home for the long-term, but we weren’t sure about the extent of a project we were willing to take on. However, in this momentary drive past a property we had ruled out several times, we suddenly saw past the work involved and realised that it could become our perfect home in an absolutely idyllic setting. Our – House on the Bridge.”
The property is located in Lower Dean, a small, tranquil village set in open countryside on the Bedfordshire border with the River Til running through it.
The couple moved into the house in June 2014 and started planning its transformation. It had been unloved and untouched for some 20 years, with a warren of small dark rooms laid across the larger ground floor, and three unwelcoming dark bedrooms on the smaller upper floor.
The couples plan for the property’s reconfiguration was to create open, flowing spaces on the lower floor, laid out to maximise natural light, and extend the upper floor to create five bright modern bedrooms.
“I’ve always had a keen interest in interior layouts and how the use of spaces can create more than just a home, but make living better. The new layouts were planned to form a natural open plan flow between each functional space and deliver an instant eye line through the property, so as you enter the front door you see right through to the back of the house and engage with the garden and surrounding countryside outside.”
Describing the project as a labour of love, Hannah, her husband Robert and their three children lived in the home as 18 months of building work commenced in October 2015.
Turning her attention to finishes, Hannah had selected large white concrete tiles for the downstairs spaces, but wanted to combine this with a second, softer wood floor finish.
“I started exploring wood floor options. I wanted something with texture and interest to contrast with the crisp white polished concrete tiles. I particularly liked the idea of a parquet wood floor and explored some original options, however I couldn’t help feel it was forcing an old style into a modern concept.
“I then stumbled across a picture of Zigzag Silver Haze on a Pinterest board and loved the look of it, offering a modern twist on parquet floors. I visited the V4 Woodflooring website, ordered a sample and remained convinced this was the ideal floor to add a softer, warmer texture to some of the ground floor living areas.”
The Zigzag collection comprises modern engineered oak wood blocks which feature a tongue and grove installation method akin to wood planks. Laid in a herringbone pattern they deliver modern parquet style, offering a more contemporary size scale and all the practical benefits of engineered wood floors.
“I chose Zigzag Silver Haze from the collection because of its natural blend of grey, cream and brown tones. It’s so attractive and promotes a genuine feeling of movement through its authentic grains and variations in tone. I’m absolutely delighted with the finish.”
The floors were installed by Steve at Fretwell Flooring, a local wood flooring specialist with lots of experience in installing V4 floors.
The family home is now complete. The bright, flowing living spaces include an entrance hall, open plan kitchen and dining space, sitting room, playroom, laundry and boot room, and upstairs the home now boasts five spacious bedrooms – two en-suite – and a family bathroom.
The wood floors form the perfect backdrop to the interior dressing. Hannah has created a ‘Modern Country meets Scandinavian Simplicity’ twist– combining pale white, cream and grey tones which complement the floor perfectly.
With its idyllic setting and beautiful design the home is now drawing interest as a location property, with companies hiring the space and its stunning river side grounds for location and product shoots.
“We’re delighted the home has drawn interest from location agencies. I’ve also got ideas to create bijou events such as pop up food nights and boutique shopping experiences here. The home we ruled out buying so many times must have held a subconscious place in our hearts. We are so glad we drove over the bridge that night and took the plunge, and have hopefully created a butterfly moment for the previously run down and unloved property which has become our very own House on the Bridge.”