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Features > Spring Homes > Country Homes > Joined Up Thinking
RS199: Joined Up Thinking
Photos: Robert Sanderson / Narratives
Text & Styling: Maggie Colvin / Narratives

Hellebore, Hebe and the silver leaves of a large olive tree dance in the breeze in the front garden of Linda and Roger Biggs home which nests peacefully below the South Downs. Pale pink roses have wound their way around the old porch and the timber-clad walls have weathered into a soft shade of grey. Surrounded by the rolling hills of the Sussex Downs, the first impression is one of visual poetry, so when the Biggs put in their sealed if, it is hard to understand why it was not love at first sight.
"Although the location was stunning, the property needed lots of work and really did not tick all our boxes,' Linda explains. 'We put in our bid thinking, we can see the potential but it we don't get this we are not that bothered.'
When to their surprise their bid was accepted and the cottage became theirs, they began to get excited about what changes might work for them.The old kitchen and dining room were small and stuck at the wrong end of the house with tiny windows onto the garden. 'Taking down the dividing walls to enjoy the wonderful views of the Downs was an obvious choice.' Says Linda, 'but it left us with the big question of where to place the new kitchen. Being a family of four with a dog and cat, we were keen to try and create a large light family living kitchen space, which enjoyed the downland views.'
Meeting up with an architect Ian Adam Smith gave the project a new momentum. He came up with the brilliant suggestion of converting the existing garage into a kitchen linking it to the cottages by a new oak framed and glazed square sitting room, which would turn this part of the house into one large L shaped family living room. 'It was such a simple idea. Totally brilliant.' Linda beams. 'We just never thought to bring the garage into the equation.'
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