The Prism House
Richard Thurbon is the proud owner of an award winning 3000 sqft Huf Haus ART 5 which enjoys fabulous views over the Chiltern Hills. He is a founding member of the owners group and represents their 120 UK members, liaising with Huf Haus on technical matters.
7 years after completing the build, Richard describes life in a Huf Haus as simply “fantastic!”.
Richard’s Huf adventure started when he met his second wife Jan. They both owned their own homes and as an engineer and estate agent respectively, they both held ambitions for self build.
Jan owned a 35-year-old ‘Colt’ timber clad bungalow on a generous plot overlooking the Chiltern Hills and the couple decided to sell Richard’s house and knock down and rebuild on Jan’s perfect plot.
The decision to build a Huf Haus came about following a business lunch in 2003 when Richard was discussing his plans with a business associate. The chap suggested a Huf house as he was project managing the build of one for a client. Having never heard of a Huf Haus, Richard arranged for a visit to the UK Show House for his wife and himself.
They fell in love immediately with the design, ambience and quality of manufacture and decided there was no contest.
Design and Construction
In February 2004 Richard and Jan signed a contract and the Huf machine whirred into action.
Richard says the “design, manufacture and construction process went like magic with the design specification going into minute detail allowing you to specify everything from the outset”
The couple’s core design brief was to keep it simple with a large house but only two bedrooms maximized into luxurious suites with en-suite and dressing areas. They wanted a large outdoor eating area under the eaves and a living space on each level to enjoy the uninterrupted views.
Richard organised and oversaw the groundworks ready for the concrete foundations and a Huf team arrived on the 3rd of May 2004 to cast the concrete base. 7 days later the house erection team and crane arrived from Germany ready to roll into
The Thurbons had been lucky enough to rent the neighbouring property during the build and having removed some fencing between the two properties for easy access, they both booked the week off work to the watch the spectacle of assembly unfold.
One week holiday proved ample with erection completed in four and a half days. Richard fondly recalls the theatre of construction during the day followed by a few drinks and a few laughs with the team in the long Summer evenings.
With the structure complete and watertight it was time for fit-out and, having price checked with another German kitchen manufacturer and finding little difference, the couple opted for a Huf kitchen and bathrooms. Richard still marvels at the quality of the workmanship.
The house won the Design Award for Aylesbury Vale District Council in 2004.The couple completed the external work and landscaping themselves with some help from a landscape designer friend. They reused many of the materials salvaged from the demolition of the existing bungalow and the garden went on to win an award from Essential Watergarden Magazine in 2005.
On August 26 2004 their home was complete and they moved in.
Life in a Huf Haus
Richard still loves living in his Huf creation and says “people are always amazed when they come into the house, even people who are sceptical only take a few minutes before they get it.”
“It is like an airlock when you close the door. There is no noise from outside, it is cool in summer and warm in the winter.”
When asked about ongoing maintenance, Richard said that Huf recommend a paintwork inspection every 2 years and coming up to 7 years he hasn’t had any problems. He also said that “Huf dismantle, clean and service his boiler once a year and tune the under floor heating as well.”
“Could you imagine any other house builder doing that?”.
Sadly, Jan passed away since the couple completed their build but Richard is surrounded by the happy memories of their adventure together which is ingrained into the very fabric of their special home.