Brick-built, zero-carbon new-build in Blackheath, London

Caroline and Philip Cooper’s dream of building a sustainable property became a reality when they realised that their ideal plot was on their doorstep in London’s Blackheath.

By Caroline Foster | 17 October 2017

Caroline and Philip Cooper’s dream of building a sustainable property became a reality when they realised that their ideal plot was on their doorstep in London’s Blackheath.

Brick built zero carbon new build in Blackheath London 1

When Caroline and Philip Cooper’s children had flown the nest and they were left rattling around in a seven-bedroom period home, the couple decided it was time for a lifestyle change. Not only did the practicalities of downsizing appeal to them, but they were also drawn to the ideal of living in a modern and more sustainable way.

‘Our old family home was an eighteenth-century property that had originally been built as a Chinese folly for the Duke of Buccleugh,’ Caroline explains. ‘It had been through several families until it was eventually bought by the council in the Seventies and turned into a children’s home. It then fell into disrepair and we bought it in the Nineties, spending a lot of time and money refurbishing the house over subsequent years.’

Brick built zero carbon new build in Blackheath London 3

With a large garden to maintain and rooms that were now surplus to requirements, the Coopers found that they were increasingly spending their time in the kitchen. ‘We seriously considered moving the kitchen into a huge drawing room that we rarely used, but it just seemed too dreadful a thing to do and would have ruined the original period interior,’ Caroline admits. ‘It became obvious that the house was no longer fit for our needs, and both Philip and I felt that we were ready for the challenge of a new-build project, combining my interior design skills and Philip’s building background.’

The couple began looking for a plot in their local area of Blackheath, south-east London, but finding something suitable proved problematic. After several attempts at making offers for building sites and having them fall through, a chance comment from a friend made the Coopers realise that the answer was staring them in the face.