Re-Building Park hatch

21st of May, 2013.

After 16 months of battling planners/councillors/wildlife consultants/tree preservation-at-all-cost people, we have finally begun work.

Two weeks of soft demolition will follow.  Today, we checked for bats and, would you believe, after two surveys and £000s of expenditure, we found……..not one bloody bat!!!!!








As can be seen from the above photo of the lounge fireplace, and the below video, soft demolition has been replaced with hard !!!

6 June and the house has gone..






My birthday – piling is underway.  There are 62 piles to be sunk 10 metres into the clay.  The Piler asks me whether our house will be 6 or 7 stories high!!










July 2013 – one of the hottest for years and the trenches are dry and awaiting their concrete.


PH 7 13 footings 1







18 july – the trenches are filled with 4 lorry loads of concrete.  The driver asks me if we are building a hotel!!!


PH 7 13  footings 2







7 August 2013 and the footings are all in, waiting for the beam and block floor









W/C  12 August – the beams, some over 5m in length, are craned into position and we are now officially above ground.  We are one week behind schedule, despite almost perfect weather.


crane 1 crane 2 crane 3 crane 4




















September 25th – our wedding anniversary – and the first floor goes on.

ist 1






ist 2





ist 4









Mid October – the first floor is nearly finished and downstairs, rooms are beginning to take shape.

We are meanwhile choosing floor stone, marble columns, kitchens, bathrooms, plaster moulding, balcony railings et al et al et al!

It’s all go.


PH oct1







gc oct 3







This (below)  is our works foreman, Graham, constructing one of the 4 chimneys.

gc oct 2







Inside, the fireplaces are taking shape.


gc oct 8







gc oct 5







Tuesday 12 November 2013 – the roof trusses arrive and are craned up.  Soon, a roof structure begins to appear.




The third photo below shows the central atrium structure being built – to be topped off by a glazed pyramid




















We also have a staircase installed – very minimalist!!!








Before the Christmas deluge, the roof is tiled




December and Karen helps out at Utopia Forge, who are making our Juliet Balcony railings



Today is the 30th of January and the first floor screed is down and windows are being fitted – but I think we are slipping behind the 31 March 2014 completion date.  See below for a video summary of progress to date



13 Feb – it has rained non-stop since xmas.  The wettest January on record and we are building a house!

However, today our builders used a dry spell to top off the chimneys and start to erect the pyramid roof light.   It will look fantastic.

feb roof 1 feb roof 3

April to May 2014 – the final push as photographed

fnl1 fnl2 fnl3 fnl4

IMG_0649 IMG_0645 IMG_0599 IMG_0596 IMG_0595 IMG_0594 fnl6



Projected move in date is now the 23rd of June!!!

3June 2014 – the hall globe light is installed with the aid of two scaffolding towers and three men




So, in the third week of June, on budget and 3 weeks late, we actually moved into the new Park Hatch.

Reflections :- the planning system is barking mad, but don’t blame the officers for this (well, do blame them but not for the complete mess!).  Work with them.

Our builders were good, but the key was having the same site manager/foreman throughout.  Graham – you were brilliant.

Designing your own house is just brilliant.  Dump the architects, get a really good structural engineer to work out how to build your design, and go for it.

Building regs are crazy but check what you are told – officers tend to say what you have to do, based only on guidelines not laws.

Get involved with every detail, on a daily basis, and avoid design changes once the build has started.

Given the choice, demolish and re-build rather than extend.  Its vat free for a start (a subsidy for us of circa £200k – thank you taxpayers) and much easier to manage.

Finally, the location is everything.

phfinalsmallPeter and Karen – July 2014


7 thoughts on “Re-Building Park hatch”

  1. Periodically I log in to follow your building progress and now can clearly see there IS going to be a house! I well remember the ups and downs when we built our house and at times felt we would never move in! 35 years later we are still happily living here though over time we have made several alterations.
    I wrote to Caroline but sadly after making initial contact, I have not heard from her again but now know we are related, we shared the same great grandfather and different grandmothers, her’s Joe Godman’s first wife, mine his second after he was widowed.
    Good luck with the continuing build.
    Best wishes, Beth.

  2. Not sure if you received my comments.
    Anyway the house looks fantastic and all worth the effort.
    Now the next project will be the garden.
    I am sure you are both going to enjoy panning that, not
    to mention the work!!!
    regards margaret

  3. Have you moved in yet? I have seen all your photos and keenly followed your building updates, the house looks fantastic! I particularly like the P H carved into the fireplace.
    I never heard again from Caroline Godman, maybe because we are the poor relations – don’t print that!
    My best wishes,

  4. I see you are finally in – many congratulations! The new Park Hatch front looks amazing, complete with your two beautiful dogs and although there may have been times along the way when you wondered why you ever started, now you can proudly say “We did it!”
    We hope you and your family will have many happy years living in your wonderful new home.
    My very best wishes,

    1. Thank you for all your notes Beth. It is wonderful to finally be in situ and we are now enjoying getting the gardens started in earnest. They have been neglected for so long now it is like starting from scratch!

      Best wishes from Peter and I.

  5. Wonderful!!! at last finished.
    You both must be thrilled to be finally in the new Park Hatch.
    Picture perfect with the two dogs, they are also happy!!!
    Enjoy the house inside and out, well worth all the hard work.
    Regards Margaret G Tasker

  6. Dear Margaret

    How lovely to receive your parcel full of news and the article on Dunsfold! It is not one we have seen before. We are so pleased that you are both fit and well and out and about with your golf clubs. Two months in to living up on our little hill and we are loving it although still back and forth to see the chiropractor with various aches and pains from overdoing the garden work! We are very keen to get as much done before the weather sets in in October – then we can have a bit of a breather!! I will send you some pictures via email as I don’t know how this website of ours works – Peter is in charge of that! Thank you so much again for thinking of us and I hope it is not too long before you think about coming back to the UK and dropping by! Very best wishes to you and Alf x

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