This light-filled, clean and comfortable house was purposed as a retirement home for the Watling family. It was planned for moving in once they officially retired from their cattery business. They looked over several prefabricated 'off the shelf' houses before settling with the Hanse Haus property. As for the home they'd eventually build upon it, Tony Watling summed up the concept as 'a bright, open house so we could see outside rather than staring at walls'. Construction made a good use of hybrid structural insulated panels. Already in place was the Hanse Haus 245-millimetre 'solid wall' structure, which included another 100 millimetres of insulating cladding. To make the timber frame walls and hybrid SIPs load bearing, studs were used every 300 millimetres and sheathing was done on both sides with OSB boards.
The end result was exactly what the Watlings had aimed for a house brimming with lots of vibrant, natural light, fronted by double-glazed door. Three sets of patio doors, all opening onto the veranda, are established at the rear of their home. The entire width of the area is utilised by including both steps leading to the garden and those towards the hard landscaped driveway. Hanging around the upstairs sitting area is just as relaxing, as Tony mentions how they have wonderful views of the farmland surrounding the house and can enjoy the vista beyond, extending right across the Kent Downs.
To keep the place warm and to generate hot water, an exhaust air heat pump from NIBE is installed. Also included is a mechanical ventilation system, which works by filtering 'used' air the moist air left in bathrooms and kitchens to generate fresh air that gets pumped backed inside the house.
While the house indeed looks complete and cosy, wouldn't it benefit from having an elevator set up? There's one staircase that leads to the upper floor and an open-plan living area. Unfortunately, stairs are where many reported accidents at home occur, especially among frailer individuals. Wouldn't an elevator be better?
The lifts we're talking about are those that operate under innovate vacuum technology. These round elevators are designed to require little electricity. Air pressure and gravity work together for the tricks of going up and down. Unlike traditional lifts, they don't rely on the mechanism of a rope-and-pulley system and therefore, they're much safer to use.
Minimal risk is involved when using an air powered elevator. Anyone regardless of age can safely operate it, as it has buttons that are similar to the traditional kind. The motors controlling these lifts create negative air pressure when there's any failure in the system. The compartment is automatically locked in position, which prevents any sudden or uncontrolled descent. Since the lift is air tight, the contained air below the car serves as a cushion, allowing it to safety reach the ground level. The lower door is then automatically opened. Simply put, the chances of a free fall occurring, unlike traditional elevator, are near zero. That's precisely why we'd recommend these lifts for the Watlings' and all other retirement homes. They're the most practical and convenient home decorations out there.