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Designer Living

PUBLISHED: 16:16 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:04 20 February 2013

The dining room leads out into the garden through a run of glass doors which the family loves to enjoy

The dining room leads out into the garden through a run of glass doors which the family loves to enjoy

Award-winning architecture helped to persuade Helen and Andy West to move from a period property to this modern home in Maldon

FOR most of their married life, Helen and Andy West had lived in a beautiful detached house built around the turn of the century.
'We had enjoyed living in an older-style property a lot,' explains Helen, 'but when this house in Maldon came onto the market we couldn't resist putting an offer in.'
That was six years ago and from talking to the couple now, it definitely seems they made the right decision for themselves and their three children, Jess, Maddie and Harry.
Before even entering the stunning house you cannot help being totally impressed by the innovative design of the building itself. Completed in the mid-1980s the house stands in an original landscaped garden which envelopes the perimeter of the property.
Once inside, the style of the house is consistently modern throughout, beginning with a retro living room which is furnished in varying shades of brown.
'The carpets throughout the house were in pretty good condition when we moved in and it would have been such an enormous job to change them,' recalls Andy. 'So we used them as a base colour to start from.'
A lot of the ground floor rooms are open plan so the couple are able to spread about a bit and with three children it's just as well.
'Because of the style of the house we can all be doing our own thing in different areas and still have conversations,' explains Helen with a smile.
The dining area is very spacious at the other end of the lounge and is filled with light from the wall of glass doors which makes it a fantastic room in the summer as well as bringing together, the inside and outside - such a popular concept.
Luckily for the couple another major job had been done for them in that the kitchen and breakfast room, which is adjacent to the dining area, was quite new when they moved in. Again, in truly authentic styling for a house of this age, the kitchen is beautifully finished in Poggenpohl units with solid wood edging. The colour that is drawn into the room is not from vibrantly painted walls but from the flooring and the natural colouring of the kitchen itself.
In addition, because there are so many windows curving round at one end of the room, the colours from the beautiful garden outside can be viewed all year. To complement the curve in the structure of the room, Helen chose a round table for the breakfast area, which doubles up as a great place for the family to meet and chat.
When the house was designed by Plater Inkpen it was given all sorts of acclaim, including a design award. A decision that Andy is convinced was made after seeing the breathtaking view from the lounge.
'It has to be the part of the house with the biggest "wow" factor,' says Helen. 'It definitely made our minds up when seeing the house for the first time.' Leading from the lounge up a wide staircase, a galleried third floor can be seen. This floods light into the rest of the house and adds another stunning feature. Many of the rooms on the first floor have interesting shapes and angles, which could for many provide decorating problems, but not Helen and Andy.
The couple wanted to decorate their bedroom with muted shades which would give the room a very restful feel. Even though there are many different influences within the room they marry in very well.
Along the wide landing is the couple's bathroom, which Helen manages to keep as a bit of a sanctuary for her and Andy. 'The kids quite enjoy having their own bathroom at the other side of the landing,' explains Helen, 'and it certainly makes the morning rush easier.'
Overall the house has a calm and spacious feel with some fantastic features to enjoy and when asked if they would ever go back to life in a period home there wasn't even the slightest hint of doubt when they both gave a very firm 'no'.
'We still have so much to do in the house,' explains Andy. 'And with a house of this sort you can always find a job to do.'

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