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Oaklands

Hertfordshire

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Celia and Diana wanted to build their forever home together, replacing a small house they had bought on a plot of land in Hertfordshire.

 

Enter Facit Homes (and Grand Designs). 

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As the test pilots for our “brave new approach to building”, Celia and Diana are perhaps the most important customers we’ve ever had. 

As Kevin McCloud put it, “When you invest in other people, in their genius, that is patronage. A couple are investing in a group of young designers, they’re investing in potential genius, they’re investing everything they’ve got in a build method that’s never been tried before.”

Filmed in 2010 for an episode of Grand Designs broadcast in 2012, the home was built in 6 months using a new concept - a purely digital design process and an on-site manufacturing facility. This took the form of a shipping container housing a computer driven ‘CNC router’ to cut sheets of plywood into pieces that could then be assembled into 3D components, forming a timber frame. Each component was filled with insulation to create a high performance thermal envelope. 

 

“It may have been a world first in construction terms, but there is nothing tentative about this building. It’s self assured and even elegant, outside and in.”

 

Thanks, Kevin.

“There’s no question that the design inside works beautifully for our lifestyle. There’s never a feeling, like in some houses we’ve had, of one nice space and thinking ‘oh well, I need to go to a grotty bedroom now.’ Every space I go into, I smile because it’s a good space.”
Celia
“We’re very pleased with it. The house complements the garden very well. We’ve got a fantastic house, it’s everything we asked for and more. We’ve ended up with a much more stylish house than we would have done left to our own devices.” 
Diana
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Celia and Diana wanted a “forever home” to retire into and having found us via an advert seeking willing partners to trial our approach, we set about making this happen. Pioneering our “unconventional process” and innovative Facit Chassis structure made out of timber components, we created them a low energy eco home. 

 

Views over their beautiful garden were hugely important, as well as a home that allowed them to entertain and live in comfort.

 

Working closely with Celia and Diana to create them a modern home, we designed from the inside out and created the entertaining spaces they wanted. The open plan kitchen space, separate study and sitting rooms (with the option to double up as a guest room), as well as the first floor with two en-suite bedrooms made the most of those all important garden views.

The Facit Chassis™️ was constructed by slotting the components together with minimal tolerances to create an airtight and highly insulated envelope, reducing heat loss and lowering the amount of energy required to run the home.  

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Investing in energy generation as well as energy efficiency, we installed solar panels on the roof of the single storey part of the building. 

Facit Homes was also commissioned to design a bespoke staircase and install it along with the kitchen. 

 

With small, exciting features like a loo with a view, and large windows bringing the incredible garden that Diana cultivated into the home, it is truly unique.

 

Clad in cedar and render, the home has large, south facing windows to make the most of solar gain in winter months. These windows were designed to have brise soleil, or solar shades, to temper the heat from the sun when it is at its highest and brightest during the summer months. Recycled decking on the outside of the house was the finishing touch to the exterior.

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