It's made of glass and wood, it comes flat-packed and can be assembled in less than two weeks. You'd be forgiven for thinking this describes a piece of Scandinavian furniture but in fact it's the new home that takes bespoke housing to new levels.
The Huf House first found its way into the UK collective consciousness thanks to Channel 4's Grand Designs programme with Kevin Mc Cloud. The programme followed the story of David and Greta Iredale, whose Huf Haus was built in a factory in Germany and put together on site in Walton. Taking a leaf out of functional Bauhaus designs the popularity of the Huf House can be attributed to the fact they're particularly environmentally friendly, spacious, light and pretty high tech too.
Huf Houses have been built by the same family for three generations. Although they have a village full of showrooms in their native Germany, the Huf family build each house to its new owner's precise needs. Because all of the technology is integrated into the walls, each detail, right down to the plug sockets, has to be decided on before the build begins. The final decisions on colours, décor and even fittings are made at the German offices.
Of course these little personal touches are reflected in the prices. The most modest sized house of 1,800 sq ft will cost you about £350,000; while one of 11,000 sq ft, complete with all the hi-tech extras will set you back about £2 million.
The builders are shipped over with the houses for the build, which if the Grand Design example was anything to go by, can take as little as one week. But the speed with which they can be constructed doesn't mean they're flimsy garden-shed type constructions. Huf Houses are cleverly designed and make use of post and beam architecture rather than using load bearing, dividing walls. This allows the typical Huf House to boast a real feeling of openness, with wall to ceiling glazing and thus uninterrupted views of the house's surroundings.
The designs look modern and the owners say that they are light and airy places to live in. Adaptations can easily be made for disabled or older individuals. One of the most appealing factors is that like classic cars, the Huf houses have their own owners club in the UK. If you're looking for advice on buying, then that's also a great place to start.
Of course if you decide to buy a bespoke home it's particularly important to ensure it's protected. Buildings and contents insurance can be tricky to find if you have a house that is classed as of unusual construction. This can include houses with thatched roofs, flat roofs and our old favourite the Huf House. Home Insurance for an unusual property can cost more than buildings cover for a conventional home, since the building may be more prone to damage and the cost of repair and replacement can cost more than it would for a more common construction. You may want to bear this in mind before taking the plunge and buying a Huf House of your own.
Even with a simple glass and timber design things can go wrong. In fact the Huf House owners group have found that the large amount of glass can be a hazard when it comes to flying wildlife. Many Huf owners have been through the distressing experience of having to deal with injured or dead birds, that have flown into the windows and in some cases cracked or broken the windows in the process. With that much glass in a property and few experienced Huf repairmen you will want an insurer that provides reliable emergency service. Also remember that not every insurer provides specialist home insurance that can cover unconventional construction, so it is worth checking to see if you will need to switch insurance provider.
Though Kevin McCloud may be a fan, the Huf House is one of those things that really divides people. Whether you're keen or not, estate agents are claiming that the homes are attracting waiting lists wherever they are built. So who knows, before you know it there could be a Huf House popping up on your street!
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