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Concept home sold off-plan for £2m

It might have hit the market headlines next month - with an eye-catching £2 million price tag but Angels' House, near Lichfield, never got that far.

It might have hit the market headlines next month - with an eye-catching £2 million price tag but Angels' House, near Lichfield, never got that far.

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It is no everyday story of house-building folk, particularly in the current chilly Spring marketplace.

The buyers are local, they paid the off-plan price of something under the proposed £2 million finished price - and the sale was completed just two weeks after they walked their plot and pronounced themselves hooked.

This is no ordinary offering even in the rarified market for large, one-off properties.

A layman might call it "ultra modern" for its one and a bit storeys, the vast 4,377 sq ft of living area spread lavishly across a big chunk of the two acre site and indeed, the inspiration behind the designs, dates from the thoroughly modern, yet to be surpassed period of the mid-20th century.

Angel's House

The concept was dreamed up by freelance artist and designer Michael Simon Toon, a Midlander born in Walsall.

With a background in photography, film animation and graphic design, he put forward the proposal to developers Straight Line Developments.

He was then commissioned to design his own version of the "very finest luxury home imaginable" and Case Study Construction was formed to fulfil the brief.

Toon took inspiration partly from the modern architecture in Los Angeles, where he has worked, and from the houses of the Case Study Program, a project created by a leading architectural publication in the US, active from 1945 to 1966.

Leading designers of the time including Charles and Ray Eames and Mies an Der Rohe were asked to come up with their visions for ideal homes. The working plans and drawings were by Phil Rushton of Rushton Architects.

The raw material was the redundant school site, the best part of two acres in an excellent spot, well elevated at Weeford, four miles from the centre of Lichfield and only 15 miles from Birmingham.

As Angels' House heads into the final stages of its construction programme, a series of computer-generated illustrations shows what's coming.

It is a pretty impressive line-up of vast interiors with not one predictable corner, and not a hint of pastiche, despite the homage to the 20th century.

Nobody else has one like it, and unless this or other developers get cracking on their next few years' projects, not many aspiring buyers are likely to.

The specification is impressive from the Feng Shui influences incorporated for harmonious living spaces to the eco extras that set this house well apart from the crowd.

The exteriors are to be clad in dark stained cedar wood.

There are five bedrooms and five bathrooms planned, high ceilings everywhere including one room of double height.

Glazing soars from floor to ceiling, there are completely retractable over-sized sliding panel windows everywhere and floors of polished concrete and teak, complete with underfl oor heating.

There is the proper home luxury of an open fireplace in the living room, a superbly sleek kitchen, astonishing full immersion Japaese teak bath tubs, climate control and advanced IT wiring with big plasma screens throughout the house.

The main bedroom overlooks an infinity pool, just where it is its most inviting.

Even this has been planned with luxury detail in mind. Its height can be varied at the touch of a button to create an incline, a shallow pool or simply a dry solid deck at ground level.

All the timber is to be from sustainable sources. The teak is all to be properly farmed, chosen for its durability, traditionally used in boats for its natural water resistant properties.

There are also solar panels, geo-thermal heat pumps, heat exchange and, for good measure rainwater recovery.

As the house is sold, such tantalising details can only irritate the buyers who are now too late to secure Angels' House for themselves.

Amy Quayle of Case Study Construction, who directed and managed the project, is rightly thrilled by the early interest in the company's magnum opus.

And there has been warm praise for the selling agents involved in marketing Angels' House, Fine & Country in Lichfield.

"I cannot praise them enough," said Amy this week.

"They have been absolutely brilliant and did everything I could have wanted."

The advertising campaign, albeit a short one, obviously did the trick. The house and its plans then proved the point to the impressed buyers.

And the next step was some pretty nifty work by the legal teams involved to get all the complex paperwork done and dusted in time for the quick completion just a fortnight down the line.

Angel's House

"It has been amazing. " In a week, I think I slept for 12 hours and the solicitors were working late into the night.

"It shows it can be done - with enough coffee," added Amy.

Purchasing off plan now means that the new owners of the emerging Angels' House can tweak their home in exactly the way they want, along the lines of the original concept. Build completion is likely in the summer.

Case Study Construction is now looking forward to further interesting challenges, after the hard work is finished on Angels' House.

There are other current sites in the Midlands and the company's sights are set firmly on some serious eco housing, drawing on their experience in planning Angels' House.

Lichfield selling agent, Miles Tydeman admits that deals on properties like Angels' House don't happen every day.

Neither do many estate agents have the privilege of handling such rare, individual new build projects.

The innovative design was the key, coupled with clear website particulars of the proposed house, effective marketing - and the obvious high status of the property.

"It was remarkable how much interest we did have in Angels' House," said Myles. This upper price sector of the marketplace, of course, remains less prone to the wider worries over values and borrowing.

Potential buyers were being "I was very impressed with the project and the determination of our client," added Myles.

He was particularly impressed with the attention to detail and the stipulations on specification, for example that none of the teak being used should be from non-sustainable sources.

The property also looks like setting a new price record for both the immediate area and wider Lichfield district.

And Myles fully expects that it will be some time before anything comparable comes to the market.

"Once it is finished, I believe it will become a new landmark in the area," he added.

* Fine & Country in Lichfield can be found at 1 Bore Street. Details of its current instructions are available from 01543 415511.

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