The ultimate coastal home is up for sale for £6m
- Credit: Savills
A nine-bedroom home with its own cinema and swimming pool has come up for sale in Blakeney, north Norfolk, for £6m.
The eye-catching home was built to get people talking, says owner Lisa Lipscomb, who designed it alongside her husband - and founder of Everyman Cinemas - Daniel Broch. “Some locals love it, some don’t, which is fine because we never built this for everybody to like," she says. "The idea was that it was to make people think. To have an opinion.”
It’s hard not to have an opinion about the house, which extends to almost 10,000 sq ft and cleverly uses windows, balconies, terraces, sliding doors and roof lanterns to maximise its views over Blakeney’s famous saltmarshes. You can see the harbour, too, and from the dedicated ‘sea room’, set between the ground and first floor, you get uninterrupted views out towards the North Sea.
The couple moved to Norfolk with their two daughters around 13 years ago. “We were probably one of the first families from London,” says Lisa. “Not to say ever, obviously, but a new trend of people that could actually live and work anywhere.” She still considers it a brave move – and an exciting one, at that.
Daniel founded Everyman Cinemas in 2000, although he stepped down in 2008, and now he and Lisa own Bliss Hotel, a coastal resort in Southport. But they have always known Norfolk well.
They already had a second home in Cley and Lisa had spent her childhood summers in the area caravanning with her grandparents.
“We were enjoying living in our second home and then this plot came up,” says Lisa. “It was just one of those things – you know you’re never going to find something like this. You can search and search forever and not find it.”
The plot, situated off Morston Road, had a 1960s house on it when they first went to view it. “It wasn’t very pretty and it wasn’t very well built,” Lisa says. “It was obvious that the view was amazing, the house wasn’t.”
Nevertheless, the family moved in, and then spent over a year learning to live in the space. “We saw all the seasons to work out how we should live in that environment, how the house should be designed in that environment,” says Lisa. They knew early on that they would knock down the original house and, over that year, they compiled a list of things they wanted and needed from their new home.
“We’ve got the Everyman background, the cinema background, and when we were in London, we were very sociable. We were going out and doing quite a lot of stuff, so it was like ‘okay, how do we make this more than a house?’ How do we create spaces for people to stay, so we’re not on top of each other? How do we have special things that, you know, seem a bit crazy?”
The ‘crazy’ things included the property’s own Everyman Cinema, as well as a steam room, spa area, gym and swimming pool, all centred around a Moroccan-style courtyard. It is, as Lisa says, just like a resort. “We wanted to pack it full of all of these things that we could enjoy.”
The couple passed their list – which, by then, amounted to several pages – to their architect, Waugh Thistleton Architects. “Literally the first drawing was pretty much it,” Lisa says. “And it went to planning permission, and it pretty much is the drawing that he drew.”
The house itself is built from cross laminated timber (CLT), shipped over from Finland. It took around three weeks to build, with things like the kitchen being built, off-site, and then installed.
The Cabin, a self-contained four-bedroom wing which they run as a holiday let, went up in three days, with just seven weeks between the foundations being laid and having guests come to stay. For a moment, it all sounds so easy – but only if you’ve done something like it before.
“Any new build, I always say, is not for the faint hearted,” says Lisa. “We have built houses before – in fact the reason for leaving and coming to the second home was that the house we were living in in Highgate was about to get knocked down, so we had nowhere to live. But we felt that we had enough under our belts to be able to go for it.”
As well as its timber, Bliss Blakeney has other great eco credentials, too. It’s heated by wood pellets that fuel a biomass boiler and has an air recovery system, which changes the air throughout the house.
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It’s almost hard to believe that the family have lived in this home for around a decade. It’s so modern, so forward-thinking, a great fusion of eco-design and adaptable living spaces. But more surprising, perhaps, is that they’ve done little to it since their initial designs.
“It hasn’t evolved much due to the fact that actually all that work that we put into the beginning has kind of paid off,” says Lisa. “We haven’t thought ‘oh, we should have added that or we should have added this’.
“Every part of it gets used – I’m very proud of that. There are no rooms that sit there, kind of dormant, it all gets used. It has worked and we have used it, properly, as it should be.”
Making sure that the house is used, as it should be, is exactly why the couple has put Bliss Blakeney up for sale. Their daughters, having grown up here, are now ready to fly the nest and Lisa says she and Daniel have “kind of ungrown” the house – it has all become too big. “It’s the most ridiculous house for two people,” Lisa says. “This should be for a family who is going to enjoy it just as much as we did.
“It’s one of the best things that you can do to bring your children up in this environment. It’s lovely. I think the kids around here are... They’re not wanting much. No-one’s selling you anything. They grow up a bit slower. They’ve got the countryside to mess around in.”
It took around three years for Lisa and the family to feel settled, she says, but now she’s looking ahead to their next home. They don’t want to leave the area, but are interested in what they can do. “The plan is to go as minimal and as light as we can,” she says. “To lessen the impact on our surroundings as much as possible.”
She’s full of ideas about how this could work, from small pod-like bedrooms to communal showers and co-operative working spaces. One thing is for sure, though: they’ll build it themselves. “We have totally spoiled ourselves,” Lisa says, “so my plan is to build a house.”
For more information, contact Savills.
Morston Road, Blakeney
Guide price: £6,000,000
Savills, 01603 229229
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