My Past Creative Building Days

Eden Vista, Retallack Park, Cornwall, England.
My two favorite developments -

I was told at secondary school I would not amount to much - So I am including some of my achievements here and hope they will be of inspiration to all those who may sit in class and find they are being ignored or not bothered with by their teachers! I know they say if you put your mind to something you can eventually achieve it - well it is true and I was just eight years old when I decided that one day I am going to build my own home. My wife and I started our first property development with just £2500 in 1998 when we put this down to buy a small terraced house in the north of England we put this down as a deposit on a auction property and bought our first house for just £3500. Since then I have owned and developed many properties in several countries including Canada, where I developed social housing.

Here is a brief summary of two of my favorite developments I owned, with links where you can read more in-depth.

Eden Vista now just called Retallack Park in Cornwall, England. This was just a piece of paper with outline planning for 70 caravans which as an outline planning consent that had been bouncing around since the 1970s being renewed each time near expiry. When I came on board with a business partner it just had six months left before this planning permission was to expire for the final time. I turned this into a new permission for up to 106 lodges over around 40 acres of land and a leisure centre.

The site was in a conservation area and part of  the land was also a scientific area of interest. I owned this with my business partner after just putting down £10,000 as an option to purchase. I sold this site with my partner and my lodges have stood here since the year 2000 the site is now just called Retallack Park, it has been expanded, but if you wanted to purchase some estimates say it is worth 60 Million! You can find some of the lodges individually for sale for around £250,000. You can read more about this adventure here -

Before (Front of house)
A Country House, England
This was an opportunity for my wife and I to instead of building homes for others to actually build one for ourselves to enable us to bring up our young children and give them a taste of the countryside. I also wanted to have a home like I experienced as a child when we moved from Surrey to a tiny village in Devon and a thatched cottage that did not even have a bathroom. This place was originally called Pinewood and was a 1960s detached bungalow Read my longer account to learn more, but essentially I doubled its size in to a five bed-roomed home with a free standing oak tower, peacocks and alpaca's, Stables and detached garage which you could extend later into a small house. Here is a before and after pictures
Before (Back of House)
with an agricultural tie and some land in a tiny village and again near a conservation area, it had three bedrooms and we had to fight to get it as lots of people wanted it in this sort after village. Where they saw an idyllic cottage with uninterrupted views of the valley and the deer that lived there - I saw potential! I could just see what a bulldozer could do to the place. That's right I wanted to pull it down, but the local planning office would only allow you to extend it.

The same house 2015 (Front of House)
What my wife and I saw was somewhat different and we loved the houses in Scotland which were called one and a half houses, these were originally long houses that were extended in the roof. We also liked the Swiss houses with balconies at the back to make the most of the views. You will need to read the longer version for a better understanding of how we went about building this wonderful family home. As you can see by the three thatched cottages in the back ground and after the 70 foot tree was removed, the house fits in well. You can
Back of House
also see the balconies at the back of the house and the 1000 square foot terrace.

It is difficult to give you an idea of the size of this house but the attic was huge and it was built so you could extend into the third floor. This was a wonderful home and we enjoyed our time in the country for the years that we were here whilst our children grew up and longed for the city again.

If you have the chance to build your own dream home then please make it a reality, yes it comes with challenges and with this build we had to keep three of the existing walls so it could still be called and extension. We bought this original bungalow for £350,000 and literally pulled it down to build this. It was valued in 2007 for £799,000. Those were the days! You can view more pictures here!