Andrea practises what she preaches – and her own family home, designed by her, in Wolverley, near Kidderminster, Worcestershire, is a real showcase for her work. She shares her home with her husband, Richard, and two grown-up sons, Ben and Sam.
Andrea and Richard, who were looking for somewhere to build their own home, had come across a series of disused industrial buildings in the countryside near Kidderminster. The site used to house the heavy goods and maintenance sheds for the Drakelow Tunnels, at Wolverley, which was at one time designated the ‘Regional Seat of Government’ in the event of nuclear war. The Millners wanted a house that was perfect for their own needs and fitted in with the environment – as well as demonstrating Andrea’s skills as an architect to potential clients.
The Creative Solution
The family lived in a caravan on the site for a year while the house was created. All inert material from the old industrial buildings was recycled and rubble used as hard standing for the site. The land was reclaimed and topsoil brought in. A pond was created to take the site’s rainwater. As the site is on sandstone, deep foundations were not possible, so the house is built upon a solid slab.
The Millner residence is a fabulous home, set amid the woodland on the fringe of the Kinver Edge beauty spot. Although completed only in 2006, the green oak-framed house looks as though it has stood there for centuries. Amazing features include a moat around three sides of the large glazed dining room, a subterranean therapy pool and a small lake to catch the rainwater. The building incorporates modern energy saving features, using ‘Passive Haus’ techniques – for instance, there is no need for central heating as warmth can be generated using energy from large appliances such as the fridge and freezer.
“Being a woman in a largely man’s world of architects, I believe I am better than most at house designs. I think about what works as a home – and even the mundane excites me because it’s always possible to create amazing features that add value”