Lancashire Interiors - The £4 million Formby home where attention to detail was key

PUBLISHED: 11:04 02 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:34 20 February 2013

The Orangery in warm reds

The Orangery in warm reds

We go inside a £4 million house in Formby – a new build where attention to detail was the everything. Amanda Griffiths reports Photography: John Cocks

It has taken three years and cost 4 million but Lancashire Life readers Peter and Margaret Geoghegan now have their dream home. And what a home it is.

Retirement did not mean downsizing for this ambitious couple. After living in a relatively modest property in Formby, they upsized to something much grander.

What hadnt been on the agenda was building their own home but, in the end, they were forced into it.

They had a very specific wish list, including a garage to park their cars, a gym, an office big enough for them both and a pool so Peter no longer had to dodge people socialising in Formby baths. They also wanted a large well-equipped kitchen and two reception rooms.

Peter says: Margaret and I wanted to stay in this area, we love Southport, Birkdale and Formby and we saw a lot of fantastic houses. But none had everything we wanted. After two years we gave up.

Then, while taking a stroll, they stumbled across a piece of land for sale. I went to see the developers and eventually persuaded them to sell, says Peter. There was a1930s-style house on one side, which wasnt habitable, so it meant we could basically build exactly what we wanted.

It wasnt quite that simple. Planners insisted the exterior should give a casual passer-by the impression that it was two homes and that the original plans were too near the boundary wall so everything had to be reduced by about four metres.

These hiccups didnt deter Peter who put initial plans together from inspiration he found in design books and then worked with an architect recommended by his sister. After finally contracting a builder, work began but disaster struck when the building company went bust.

Peter, who ran a successful brass fittings company, took on the job of project manager himself and now, looking back, says it could have been a blessing in disguise. A stickler for detail, Peter was able to hire workmen who took pride in their work, to give the property a 100 per cent polished look.

Peter and Margaret travelled to national and international trade shows for everything from the right lighting down to the perfect door handles. It has been finished off with the help of interior designer Louise Jones from Design Emporium in Wilmslow, who Peter says took their ideas and inspiration and made everything come together in a way they could never have done. He also speaks highly of much of the craftsmanship in the house, especially that of Bob Davies, a local furniture maker who made everything from the specially designed round table to seat 12 to kitchen cupboards and doors.

The house features a grand entrance hall with a remarkable lighting feature a circular column that stretches to the first floor, which they saw on a trip to Harrods,.

The lounge, Margarets area of tranquillity, has a ceiling which is a work of art with a scalloped design, which can be lit in numerous ways. The magnificent kitchen and orangery is where the couple spend most time, and they feature granite worktops, a crme marfil tiled floor and all the mod-cons including a tap some would say is one step better than a Quooker, which dispenses boiling, sparkling and tap water.

The kitchen has also been designed giving them plenty of space to hide away their pots and pans, while Peter raves about the integrated steam oven. The orangery, decorated in warm red hues, looks onto the landscaped garden and includes a remote control shade over the glass ceiling.

To the other side of the staircase is the office, which as well as handmade desks for both Peter and Margaret also features things like a special built-in shelf with plug sockets where mobile phones and ipadscan be charged in one place.

The drawing room is Peters sanctuary and it has access to the swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Upstairs are five double bedrooms, three with en suites, as well as a large family bathroom with Jacuzzi bath, his and hers sinks which the couple saw on their travels in Acapulco.

The master bedroom features an ensuite and dressing area and has direct access onto a terrace at the back of the property. A fridge is built into a cabinet at the bottom of the bed for when they are enjoying the sunshine on this terrace.

The house boasts underfloor heating and is air conditioned. Theres also three types of heating designed to keep the house temperature at an ambient 25 degrees all year round. The house also has a clever Lutron system which means the lights, curtains and blinds work by the click of a button.

It took us a long time to decide what we actually wanted to build, says Peter, but every day you spend planning you save 1,000. The builders normally quote knowing its the changes along the way where they can make their money, so the more you have planned the more likely you are to bring a project in on budget.

We found our inspiration all over the world, from hotels to the houses we have looked at, as well of course as looking through magazines like Lancashire Life.

I would definitely do it all again! I approached this project as I would running a business, solving problems as they came along and going to ten shops to find the right door handles, for example. In fact, Id sell this house at a 5,000 loss just to have the fun of doing it all again. Not that Im going too!

The print version of this article appeared in the July 2012 issue of Lancashire Life
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