Welcome to Orana

PUBLISHED: 15:25 17 March 2009 | UPDATED: 15:51 20 February 2013

The family room, with 'L'-shaped purple sofa, and kitchen

The family room, with 'L'-shaped purple sofa, and kitchen

Having heard of a stunning new-build home near Branksome Chine, Peter Booton went along to visit the family living there, and to see for himself the many state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly features the house incorporates

The Green family live just 400 yards from the golden sands of Branksome Chine beach, midway along the coastal strip between Bournemouth and Sandbanks. For Steve and his wife, Nicky, it is an idyllic location, particularly as they have two beach-loving young children, five-year-old Finley and his sister Poppy who is three.

As a builder and developer of repute in the Poole and Bournemouth area, Steve has an enviably long list of prestigious construction projects to his credit. Needless to say, he is always busy and so it is rather surprising that he recently found enough time to build his own home. But after living in a traditional house for some years, Steve had the urge to build a very different style of home for his family. The end result is a stunning, ultra-modern, six-bedroom house set in half an acre of landscaped grounds.

The original design concept came from the glossy pages of a book celebrating architectural masterpieces, entitled Another 100 of the World's Best Houses, in which Steve saw a striking contemporary house with two linked wings. Inspired, he took the idea a stage further by parting the wings and placing in between them a one-metre deep plunge pool, with an infinity edge, at the front of the house. He explains: "The pool gave the house a focal point and as the property is south-facing we also gained space we could use in summer. The design is classic in style because I didn't want the house to date. Not everyone likes it though! A few people have said we shouldn't have been allowed to build it here, while many others have praised it."

When the final plans had been drawn up by the architects and planning permission received, building work began. It took just ten months to complete the house and on 13 May last year the Greens moved into their superb new Branksome home, which they duly named 'Orana' from the Aboriginal word for 'welcome'. Steve admits, "I'd always wanted to build my own home, but ten years ago I wouldn't have even dreamt a house like this was possible."

As an important part of the design, Steve built in a number of environmentally-friendly features, including a state-of-the-art solar heating system to provide heat and hot water and a rainwater collection system which can be used to flush the cisterns and irrigate the garden. In summer, the solar panels provide more energy than is required and so the excess is used to heat the pool, while during the winter months a conventional gas boiler keeps the system topped up.

Structurally, the house is steel-framed with solid block infill, the steelwork being necessary because of the considerable quantity of glass used in the building. Two sides of the drawing room at the south-facing front of the house consist of large, fully opening glass doors which permit unimpeded access onto the granite slab terrace alongside the plunge pool. Similar glass doors at the rear of the house separate the gymnasium from a terrace where there is an informal dining area and hot tub. Because of the large area of glass - which is all heat-reflecting - the block walls had to be clad externally with 115mm-thick insulation material in order to comply with the latest thermal regulations.

Considerable thought also went into the interior of Orana, with Steve and Nicky having similar ideas regarding the dcor and furnishings. Their chosen colour scheme throughout is white, but with contrasting purple features, such as an L-shaped sofa in the family room and one wall of the kitchen which they have painted purple, their favourite colour. The theme is carried through to the garden where a section of wall bounding the rear terrace, which can be seen from the kitchen and family room, has been painted the same colour.

Nicky chose the fabrics for her home with advice from her local interior designers, Poppy Designs at Ashley Cross, who then made up the curtains, cushions and bedcovers to suit. Purple was sure to be prominent, but quite by chance one of the shades they selected for a guest bedroom at the rear of the house almost perfectly matched the rhododendrons outside the window when they came into bloom!

Steve has installed colour-changing lights around the exterior of the house, ground-floor terraces, first-floor balconies and even the mosaic tiled walls of the pool. A remote handset controls them and allows a range of colours to be selected. When the lights illuminate the walls and pool at night, the effect is simply stunning. Steve points out though, with a smile, "Now that Finley and Poppy have learnt to use the handset, we might have red lights at 5pm, green lights an hour later, and who knows what after that. Our neighbours must wonder what's going on sometimes."

With a footprint in excess of 665 sqm, Steve admits that Orana is a bit bigger than they actually need. However, Finley and Poppy have discovered that plenty of space is an advantage, especially when they can speed through the entrance hall and into the family room on their scooters, a straight distance of around 20 metres. Fortunately, the ground floor is tiled throughout with highly polished and hard-wearing one-metre-square porcelain tiles.

To say that Orana is comprehensively equipped for modern living is definitely an understatement. In addition to its six spacious bedrooms, which are all en-suite, Steve and Nicky's sensational home has a German-designed luxury kitchen fitted out with a range of Miele appliances, white Corian worktops and electronically controlled pan drawers, which open and close at a touch. Add to this a state-of-the-art media centre, games room, cinema room and gymnasium with its own wet room and sauna, and it isn't difficult to see why Orana is so special. And there is talk that Poole Borough Council may enter it for a national award.


Location: near Branksome Chine, Poole

Built: 2008

Accommodation: Lower ground floor: triple garage. Ground floor: drawing room, combined open-plan family room, dining room and kitchen, entrance with dining area, utility room, cloakroom/WC, gymnasium with sauna and wet room, cinema room and games room.

First floor: master bedroom with dressing room, en-suite bathroom and private balcony, five bedrooms

(all en-suite), three of which have access to a shared balcony.


Architects: Anders Roberts & Associates Ltd, Chapel Studios, 14 Purewell, Christchurch. (01202 479919

Builder and developer: Steve Green. (07968 040651, e-mail: steve@greenerhomesltd.com

Kitchen: Kitchen World, 111 Parkstone Road, Poole. (01202 723838

Tiles: Porcelanosa, 101 Redbridge Road, Millbrook, Southampton, SO15 0ND. (0844 481 8956

A & C Dunkley Ltd, 4-10 Kemp Road, Winton, Bournemouth, BH9 2PW. (01202 526206, www.dunkleytiles.co.uk

Carpets: Cutwise Flooring, 39 Charminster Avenue, Bournemouth. (01202 524052

Fabrics: Poppy Designs, 127 Commercial Road, Parkstone, Poole. (01202 740779

Plunge pool and hot tub: KB Pools Ltd, Unit 18 Cortry Close, Branksome, Poole. (01202 744550, www.kbpools.co.uk

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