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Date & time Sep 14
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Creator sefien

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The proud owners of some leading contenders invite us through their keyholes

"Hedingham has been in my family for a long time. It was handed over to my father by my cousin, a wonderfully eccentric woman, in 1980.

My wife Demetra, who is an architect, and I moved here about three and a half years ago. It's a marvellous place to live there's tons of history and we've got a 950 year old Norman keep in our garden. But it's a big job to keep it all up.

Doing the interior is never ending. I've never counted the rooms, so I'm not sure how many we've got; we keep doing things as and when we can. We can't just write out a huge fat cheque for things, so we do things with as much imagination as we can. We have to be realistic, and we're very hands on.

We were lucky enough to be approached by a company called Warners, who make silk. They could see what we're trying to do and wanted to help, so they provided enough material for us to do up five rooms to show off their new collection, and we ended up with wonderful curtains and sofas. If I'd had to pay for it, it would have been a very painful exercise.

After the war, my cousin had to sell off a lot of the land to keep things going, so traditional ways of generating income for the upkeep of the house have evaporated. Instead, now we have a lot of weddings here in the castle, followed by receptions overlooking the lake. We also have corporate events and classic car days, and get about 25,000 visitors a year through the doors. I think people like the fact that it's not too municipal, and there aren't too many signs and also that the interior of the house is a bit woolly round the edges.

The value of Hedingham is irrelevant, really I wouldn't have a clue how much the property is worth. It's not about the value of the place, anyway. It's an enormous privilege to live here. Ownership is a strange thing with an inherited property such as this. You can choose either to take it on and make a go of it, or to sit back and let someone else do it, or to sell it. I feel that to hand it over to English Heritage or the National Trust would be a tragedy." EW

'LIKE BEING IN A BOUTIQUE HOTEL'

"We bought the house in 2004, but realised there was so much we wanted to do to it that it would be more cost effective to pull it down and build on the site. It took a while we only moved in at the end of August last year. In total the project cost us 1m, but the house is now valued at 2.5m.

One reason it took us so long was that we couldn't decide what we wanted either really modern or traditional. We had two architects working on plans that kept changing. In the end, we met somewhere in the middle.

The house looks very modern from the outside, but inside we've made it into a comfortable family home for us and our daughter; a lot of people say they expect it to be quite cold and are surprised at how warm and cosy it is.

My partner, Marc, and I did almost everything ourselves, although we did have help with the soft furnishings, because the house is predominantly black, so I was thinking 'Oh my God, where do I start here?'

I'm really proud of what we've done with the hallway. It's a really big space 400 sq m and we didn't want it to be either really empty or filled with stuff. It's got a boutiquey, hotel feel to it, which I wanted, and we've got an 18th century circular chair, made up of four seats with their back to each other you find them in hotels a lot.

The dining room is fantastic. We've got Swarovski crystals hanging down on either side of the room, and one wall is taken imitation bvlgari serpenti bracelet up with a bronze mirror.

We're very lucky that not only were we able to build our dream house, but that it comes with a garden. Two German designers, Barth and Schrang, designed ours. It's got a Mediterranean feel: palm trees, white walls and decking, and there's a reflection pool too. I don't think I'd change anything about the house; we put a lot of effort into it and it's exactly what we wanted." EW

"I've always wanted to live right by the sea. I bought the house from a friend's uncle when I retired, and had the intention of making some fairly fake Bulgari Serpenti bracelet women dramatic changes, really opening it up and making it a modern sort of property.

It's called Admiralty House because it was built in the 1860s as a Coast Guard headquarters. It had no particular redeeming features, so I asked a friend of my children's, who is an architect, to come up with the plans.

In total, I had about 18 months of work carried out. bulgari serpenti bracelet fake I turned the four bedrooms into two luxurious ones, with my bedroom and en suite on the seaward side. By using sliding glass, you can open up virtually the whole house on a nice day.

My bedroom is my favourite room. I can lie in bed in the morning and, being a gadget freak, I can press a button to raise the bed and then press another button and the curtain slides back to give an excellent sea view. My favourite gadget is my thumbprint scanner; I use it instead of a front door key. It's wonderful to go out in the evening and not worry about keys.

I suppose you could call the house a bachelor pad, but I'm a bit wary of that phrase. First, it is not very kind to my girlfriend, and second, it's a bit hackneyed. The house just reflects my style and how I want to live.

It is a hard house to value as it does not compare to any other two bedroom properties in the area. Several friends who are estate agents copy bulgari jewelry have said they'd put it on the market for well over a million pounds. But it wasn't about money for me; I designed it the way I did because I intended to stay here. It was a project to keep me amused, but now it's finished I think I need a new one. Luckily, when I built the garage I made sure it was heated and comfortable, so I think I'll enjoy it now and invent something, or maybe build a kit car." JM

'I BELIEVE IT'S A MASTERPIECE'

"We bought the land in 1998 and sat on it for two years. The site was located within the walled gardens of a 1750 mansion that lay around 400m to the north. Then it took two years to design and build, with us moving in during May 2002. It was a long process because the design was so intricate.

We were very lucky to be guided through it all by the award winning architect Gareth Hoskins, who is based in Glasgow. We interviewed around eight Scottish architects, and even though Gareth had only just opened his practice and didn't really have a track record, I hired him on a personal basis. We really got on. It's very fortunate that he's so successful now. I'd say the property is worth at least 1m, which is a big deal in Scotland.

To begin, Gareth asked me to pull together a "mood board". This was a collage of cut out pictures of everything that inspired me. Basically, if I thought there was anything particularly well designed I would put it on this "mood board" and then hand it to Gareth. It was everything that made me tick from David Mellor cutlery to the buildings of Mies van der Rohe.

As such, the design is very contemporary. There's lots of glass, lots of lights, limestone floors and white render. It's not a gadget house, though. The innovation has more gone into the way it looks, which I love.

My home is essentially four bedrooms, and a round study, as well as an open plan lounge and dining area. The circular space is my favourite. It's pretty large and wonderful for acoustics, and that's where I listen to my music. What I like most about the property is that it is very private. The walls around the garden are 11ft high. It's almost like a big secret; you can't overlook it or see it from the outside. There's something magical about it.

I believe it's are a masterpiece. Even though I've been there six years I don't take it for granted. I still appreciate all we've achieved." RS

"We lived in the New Forest before we bought The Mill, and we were looking for a period property to do up.

We moved in three and a half years ago. The house was in good structural condition but the interior was very dated. It's a very big house but just two people lived here before and there was a very small kitchen. The electrics and lighting were all below par, and we wanted modern bathrooms and a more modern TV and cinema room.

The Wall

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