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Digital Subscriptions > Build It > August 2018 > Island Retreat

Island Retreat

Phil Clabburn realised his teenage ambition and built an energy-efficient home in a stunning seafront location on the Isle of Wight

It was during a motor-biking trip to the Isle of Wight that Phil Clabburn spotted the gorgeous pale outline of a property facing out to sea. For years, he kept thinking back to that location as he couldn’t shake the feeling that it would be a stunning place to live. A decade later, that same dwelling came on the market and his dream project began to seem possible.

Phil decided to look around the run-down house and immediately put in an offer, which was initially accepted. Unfortunately, the estate agents had forgotten to pull the advert from the local paper and he was swiftly outbid. But desperate times call for desperate measures, so Phil appealed to the owners directly. “I wrote a ‘hearts and minds’ letter”, he says. “It outlined my intentions for the property and my hope to preserve its character.” Luckily, it worked – the vendors felt it was what their late father would have wanted.

Borrowing money from his dad against the imminent sale of his residence, Phil kick-started his plans to create a tasteful and sustainable seaside home, which would help to combat fluctuating energy prices. While he had initially hoped to undertake a renovation, it soon became apparent this simply wasn’t going to be possible. “It had suffered years of weathering”, he says. “Salt had permeated throughout the house and eaten away at everything. When I demolished it you could pick the bricks off one another.”

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About Build It

Build It magazine's new August 2018 issue is packed full of ideas and practical advice to help you successfully create your dream home. Here's our pick of some of the top features this issue: - Cover house - a characterful oak self build home on a garden plot - Design & build special: the companies who can take the stress out of your project - Wow-factor extensions that add space, light & value - Are heat pumps worth the money? - Why you should invest in rooflights - Create a summer-ready outdoor living space ... and more!