Behind the scenes at a luxury home in Branksome Park
PUBLISHED: 10:35 08 October 2014 | UPDATED: 10:35 08 October 2014
(C)2008 Peter Booton Photography, all rights reserved
It's no wonder that a British designer whose cashmere scarves are the toast of Japan fell for this contemporary luxury home in Branksome Park with its wealth of eco features and lush Asian gardens
As you would expect of a property that won the Daily Mail UK residential property award for Best House in Dorset 2009, this ultra contemporary luxury home embodies state-of-the-art design and technology.
Set in the prestigious residential area of Branksome Park in Poole, the single-storey house with self-contained annex was designed by renowned architects Terence O’Rourke PLC and constructed by local company Husen Developments. The 6,000 plus sq ft property comes with a wealth of environmentally-friendly features including solar panels and rainwater harvesting for garden irrigation.
The main front entrance door, set within an enclosed glass vestibule, is approached across a reflective water feature, like a shallow moat, and opens into a spacious, high-ceilinged informal living space and kitchen/breakfast area.
Leading from this is a glass roofed central atrium planted with three exotic palms. One wall of the atrium has sliding glass doors which give access to the indoor swimming pool, which is chlorine-free and heated.
On the opposite side of the pool a similar set of sliding glass doors opening onto the landscaped gardens surrounding the house. So either or both sets of doors can be opened, and the pool used throughout the year whatever the weather.
Beyond the atrium is the formal Drawing Room with its double aspect views of the gardens. A broad, floor-to-ceiling chimney breast encased in wood panelling houses a flame effect fire and wide-screen television with 5.1 surround sound entertainment system.
This very stylish and spacious property on Western Avenue exudes quality: precisely what its creators had intended. Every room is superbly appointed and no expense has been spared to ensure the highest standards of workmanship coupled with top quality fittings throughout. One of the many notable features is the liquid vinyl resin flooring used in the en-suite bathrooms and planted area of the central atrium.
Liquid vinyl which comes in a range of colours, although expensive, has the advantages of being attractive, easy to clean, maintenance-free and more comfortable to feet than ceramic or stone tiles.
The en-suite bathrooms combine subtle bands of polished plaster and terrazzo on their walls, and each bedroom is fitted with bespoke Italian wardrobes and cupboards, one of which, in the master bedroom, conceals a coffee making machine.
When the house was nearing completion in 2009 it was purchased by entrepreneur and designer Brian Weisz and his wife Olwyn, who also have a home in London.
In the 1980’s Brian’s company was the largest exporter of fine quality cashmere and vicuna to the Far East and gained renown for pioneering commercially printed original designs on cashmere. The company also created the Brian Weisz Signature Collection of cashmere scarves which retailed in Japan at over £2,000 each.
With his many years of design experience Brian was able to fully appreciate the impressive architectural style of the Branksome Park house.
“When I first walked in to this house I totally fell in love with it,” he recalls. “What interested me was that it had an Asian feel about it, particularly on the outside,” he points out a number of Japanese maples planted alongside a clump of bamboo in the landscaped gardens.
“The house is quite an iconic design that’s not going to date because it’s unusually modern. I also like the fact that we’ve got a water feature that you cross over like a drawbridge to reach the front door.”
Another deciding factor was that the house is “easy to lock up and has all the mod cons. It’s also very friendly to the environment,” Brian points out.
“The rainwater is collected and used to water the garden and we’ve got solar on the roof which does a good job. The house has a forced air system that regularly changes the air. In winter it passes through a heat exchanger so the warm air is retained and mixed with fresh air coming in. So it’s quite economical. In fact, we rarely need any heating at all because the house is so well insulated.”
The external elevations of the house are mainly clad in porcelain tiles which only require hosing down occasionally to keep them looking their best. Much the same applies to the decking that surrounds the house.
A clever feature is the fixed steel louvres that permit ventilation when the sliding glass patio doors in the bedrooms are partly opened but retain the property’s security.
This is the first single-storey house the couple have lived in and they are impressed. “Up until then I’d only seen single-storey houses as very small places,” admits Brian. “But here, because the windows are so high, you feel as if you are living outside. As the garden wraps around the house and every room opens onto it, you don’t feel closed in at all.”
The house also has two kitchens: a main kitchen fitted with German units by Leicht and appliances from Gaggenau, and a ‘chef’s kitchen’ for serious cooks with a £20,000 Wolf stainless steel range at its heart. The main kitchen has never been used because Olwyn loves cooking and prefers to use the Wolf stove.
However, as the couple now want to spend more time in Sydney with Olwyn’s mother, their beautiful Dorset home is going on the market.
“We have really enjoyed living in Branksome Park,” enthuses Brian. “This particular plot has got the trees and plenty of space around the house and Olwyn loves watching the local wildlife visiting the garden.”
• Where: Western Avenue, Branksome Park, Poole
• The Property: Award-winning ultra contemporary single-storey luxury home (and detached self-contained guest suite annex) designed by architects Terence O’Rourke PLC and built by Husen Developments in 2009. Property features state-of-the-art technology and a wealth of environmentally friendly features.
• Accommodation: (6,000 plus sq ft) kitchen/breakfast room area, further chef’s kitchen, two reception rooms, three en-suite bedrooms, gymnasium, chlorine-free heated indoor pool and glass roofed atrium. Self-contained annex has fourth guest suite, with potential for use as a home office.
• Eco Features: Concealed solar panels; heat exchange system providing constant fresh air; rainwater harvesting for garden irrigation
• Technology: Home automation and entertainment system; programmable lighting ;zoned underfloor gas heating
• Gardens and grounds: Property surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds with full irrigation system. Entrance approached by bridge across a shallow moat. Garage. CCTV security system and electric gates.
• Price: Offers in excess of £2,995,000
• Agents: Savills Estate Agents, Canford Cliffs 01202 708888; savills.co.uk