Spindrift View – a holiday home in a class of its own

Case Studies, General

Spindrift View stands on the edge of a cliff overlooking one of Devon’s most popular beaches. The team that created this stunning holiday home faced many challenges, but the end result is a property that combines fabulous views, bespoke designs and plenty of luxurious extras.Spindrift View - a holiday home in a class of its own

Owner Les Owen’s vision for his three-storey coastal retreat was ambitious. Situated in the holiday town of Salcombe, Spindrift View features five bedrooms, a cinema room, 2 living rooms and an open kitchen diner. A good sized swimming pool overlooks the terrace and there’s also a hot tub to relax in. The property’s three floors are linked by a central staircase and a lift, which leads to a double garage, a drive and a turning point accessed via electric gates.

Working out how to access the steeply sloping site from a single track road was the first challenge faced by Mr Owen’s team of designers, consultants and constructors. Together with structural engineer Brad Coley, the team decided to start by creating a concrete structure with a central spine wall and concrete columns. As well as enabling the team to build the floors and walls, the spine wall would allow them to create a concrete platform at road level. This would provide entry to the site and a base for the crane to sit on.

However, before they could build anything, the team needed to access large amounts of concrete. Because the local roads were so narrow, the concrete lorry had to park in a lay-by and empty its load into skips that pumped it around the site. Mini mixers were also on an hourly rotation, as they were small enough to navigate the roads.

In order to make the plot level enough to build on, the project team also had to excavate 130,000 tonnes of cliff face and soil. This was carried out in two phases so that the excavators could dig their way out of the site once the first half of the framework had been built. The exposed cliff face was then soil nailed and rock bolted, while concrete piles supported the property’s boundaries to the East and West.

Once the concrete structure was in place, the builders faced it with locally sourced quarry stone before starting work on the rest of the house. To avoid further issues with access, concrete blocks were replaced with timber inside the property, but the team couldn’t avoid the challenge of delivering the hot tub to the lower level. Installing the aluminium windows was also a particularly tricky task!

The creation of Spindrift View was a complex project that demanded effective teamwork and clear communication. Full plans were submitted before building commenced and the team held early discussions with Devon Building Control partnership, to make sure that the project complied with building regulations. They also kept in touch with Mr Owen’s neighbours, who were suddenly faced with a deep excavation next to their garden fences!

Building control surveyor Dave Bartlett also assisted the team when they were faced with a main sewer diversion below the proposed house. Having discussed the matter, Mr Bartlett, South West Water and the project team agreed that coordinating the underground infrastructure was the way forward.

Sustainability plays a key role in the design of every modern home, so the team behind Spindrift View aimed to ensure that the building achieved a high level of thermal insulation and airtightness. As well as installing triple glazed aluminium windows, they added twin 16kw heat pumps linked to solar panels. These provide underfloor heating, hot water and heat for the home’s indoor pool.Spindrift View - a holiday home in a class of its own

Despite the unusual challenges involved with the creation of Spindrift View, the project’s dedicated team of professionals have produced an incredible holiday home that is eye-catching, luxurious and robust. Mr Owen’s holiday retreat is also the well-deserved winner of an LABC Building Excellence Award for best individual home.

Project team


Mr Les Owen, 01803 865084

Building Control

Devon Building Control partnership, 01626215837


Harrison Sutton Partnership, Mr Jon Capel, 01803 865084

Project Manager

Ease Manage, Dafydd Hollyman, 01752 895487

Structural Engineer

Airey & Coles, Brad Coley, 01752 229119

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