Four years ago, Herefordshire Council closed their Hafod Road office building, Brockington, and planning permission was granted for the site.

Now, as 2019 gets underway, the finishing touches are being put to the small select development of detached homes and a three-storey apartment building on the Hafod Park site, a premier address where, unsurprisingly, the houses have already sold. "There is not much opportunity to buy a detached house in this location," says IE Developments co-director Stuart Speight

The jewel in the crown of IE Development's site is the stunning penthouse on the third floor of the apartment building - beneath it are four two-bedroom apartments.

"We bought this site three years ago," says Stuart, "and then went through the planning process. We didn't want to over-cram the site," he adds, which explains the low density of the development. And, in a road where the architectural vernacular is predominantly Victorian, they have taken care to echo the style, create properties on the same scale incorporating many of the characteristics, such as deep overhangs, pitched roofs and red brick, but with a contemporary sensibility and a commitment to sustainability.

"The overhangs are expensive and hard to engineer, but protect the building and offer it far more status," Stuart explains.

The apartment has three generous decks - one at either end of the spacious open plan living/dining/kitchen area and one off the master bedroom, with industrial quality windows allowing the maximum light into the building. "And for ease of maintenance, the decks are resin." And every one of them affords a stunning view out across the city towards the Brecon Beacons.

Every element of the build has been sourced locally where possible, with the two-tone grey kitchen and bathrooms from Westdown and the flooring from Signature Interiors, with a remote controlled gas fire set into the dividing wall and Siemens kitchen appliances throughout - "We use the same range - we never put a Siemens appliance where it's visible and something else where it's not!"

And for whoever draws the short straw, even doing the washing up in this penthouse offers the pleasure of a stunning view. "It's a simple thing, but where you have a sink you have to have a view," says Stuart. "And we always do that."

The lighting throughout has been designed specifically for the property by a lighting architect - "when you move it, it's as plug and play as possible, and it's all LED lighting, offering an 80% saving on lighting costs."

With everything designed to be as low maintenance and as energy sensitive as possible, "this whole apartment will cost no more than a bedsit to run."

The interior doors throughout are Vicaima doors - Portuguese solid wood doors which cleverly contain the fire door in the middle, and the door from the kitchen to the hall has a large glass panel to maximise the flow of light.

A discreetly positioned service cupboard in the hall houses a pump to ensure full pressure in all the bathrooms, and the air recycling system also sits in here. In common with all the storage in the penthouse, sliding doors house discreet but spacious storage.

The apartment has three large double bedrooms and a compact light filled office, but the star of the property is the beautiful living space. "In modern living, the kitchen is the hub of the house.

"There is nothing else like this in Hereford, not to this level of specification" says Stuart, adding that he and fellow director Tim Evans are committed to the principle of 'homes for living and lifetime homes' explaining that their philosophy is to future proof their properties as much as possible, ensuring that doorways are wide, and that downstairs toilets are big enough to convert into shower rooms. We always design houses that our parents would like to buy."

The interior design is by Zest Home Staging, a local company founded last year by Chanelle Knapp and Ruth Hassard: "We would normally go for a very neutral palette when working on an interior design as opposed to a staging project," says Chanelle, "as that ensures that a property appeals to a wide market, and for the same reason, we wouldn't suggest using a wallpaper either."

The backdrop to Zest's design for Holm House is pale, just-there, grey, a colour determined in large part by the kitchen and flooring which had been installed. "We liked the colour and decided to bring in pops of colour, like the blue blind in one of the bedrooms and the cushions throughout, to create a luxurious feel.

"I believe that people shop with their senses, so we like to use different textures - lots of soft fabrics and linens, especially with curtains, all of which have come from Paula's Blinds. We went for quite a neutral colour that would harmonise with everything. And in the living space, blinds have been used to maximise the light, but they are a style of blind that closely resembles curtains - they can either be open or closed.

"The furniture and accessories in the penthouse were sourced from a variety of places, but as the property has effectively been staged for marketing purposes, the furniture will not stay when it sells."

I'd want to keep the charming brass-edged wooden crate standing on its side to serve as a side table. "We found that in HomeSense, and it took a while to find the right home for it - it started in the kitchen before we realised it was perfect in a bedroom.

"We'll often find pieces and buy them without knowing what they'll become or where they'll end up," says Chanelle, effectively offering valuable advice to anyone undertaking a makeover in their home. A little like William Morris, if it's beautiful or useful, it will find a home.

"Many of the properties we have designed or staged have had a country, shabby chic, feel, but what we loved about the penthouse is how different it is. We focused on luxury and went for mirrored furniture and lots of texture and interesting accessories, with No 28 in Hereford's Church Street a source for many of them."

Entry to the light and spacious - not to mention eco friendly and low maintenance - penthouse is via a lift which opens into the wide and airy hall, deliberately so to instantly introduce the feeling of space that characterises the property.

The penthouse, and other properties on the development are airtight, but have an air filtration system that ensures fresh air is continually pumped in, so that the temperature stays consistent throughout with never even the whisper of a draught."

"In every development we listen to what customers want," says Stuart, "and then we build those specifications into the next."


IE Developments

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