We are sailing west.
This week, I’ve been marked as a no-show by some very rude Belgians. Taught 600 students to draw by hand, sailed to the Isle of Wight and back. Plus, I produced design options, submitted several planning applications, and solved technical building issues. It’s been a busy week, my brain is a little fried, so I’m glad we are on a monthly newsletter week, which is mostly Lisa’s department.
We have a new (hopefully regular) feature on wine from Lucy at Wines by the Sea, an independent wine shop in Southsea. This is quite exciting and leads me to think that this newsletter and the weekly TFTW increasingly have little to do with designing houses, extensions or remodelling. Perhaps it’s like heading to Yarmouth from Lymington on Saturday: whilst the destination was straight ahead, we went way west toward Hurst Castle before being taken back east. Or maybe I’m just interested in heading west and never coming back.
Let Lisa know if you have any ideas for regular features or partnerships. We want to grow the number of people this is emailed to, not just because we want to head straight to Yarmouth but more likely because if you get past Hurst Castle and get a fair wind, the Bay of Biscay beckons…
You can get Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org, and as always, you can get me at email@example.com
All the best
This month’s newsletter includes a featured builder, a movie premiere and a generous serving of wine, which is not bad for October. You can also catch up with Ken, six months into his house extension.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of accompanying the author of this week’s guest post on a wine-researching trip to Bordeaux. We did a lot of er.. research, and one of the wines features in this article.
Over to Lucy and her recommendations
Wines for Autumn
We are well and truly into Autumn now, which is the perfect time for full-bodied reds and complex white wines. I’ve chosen three wines to drink on cosy Autumn evenings with a classic hearty meal or sat in front of a roaring fire.
1. Following my recent trip to Bordeaux, I would highly recommend the Château La Tuilerie du Puy 2018 Bordeaux Superior. This is a perfect red to accompany roast beef with all the trimmings. After meeting the winemaker at his family-run estate, I witnessed the love and care that went into making this wine and it’s reflected in the flavour.
2. Second is a Côtes du Rhône Blanc – slightly oaked and a deeper yellow in colour than some whites. This would go great with a chicken casserole or a baked fish dish with plenty of flavouring. The wine is made from a blend of grapes, which adds to the complex flavour and mouthfeel.
3. Last but by no means least, is a full and jammy Californian Zinfandel; a real crowd-pleaser that works well with slow-cooked red meats and would also complement a slightly spicy curry. With notes of vanilla and cocoa, it’s packed with explosive dark berry flavours and something a little different to share with friends.
Builder of the month: Darren Millard of Millard Installations
“When I started the business, I said yes to everything. These days it’s a bit different!”
Meet Darren Millard, a builder 20 years in the making who takes tremendous pride in his work and likes to inject a little personality into his construction.
“I enjoy recommending something a bit different to my customers. On a rear extension last year, I suggested that we install pocket doors between the two parts of the house. The owners went for it, and we used 2.4 m doors that slide into the wall when they want to close off that area and glide effortlessly out to open up the whole rear of the house to the garden. They love it and that makes me really happy.”
Twenty years ago, Darren was installing double glazing, but grew up doing DIY with his dad and had done a lot of work on his own house plus odd jobs for people here and there. The company he worked for started suggesting he do more complex work and he developed his skills until he was ready to launch his own business.
“I said yes to everything that came my way and learned as I went, taking on specialists when I needed to and always making sure the finished quality was top-notch. That was over eight years ago and now I have a small but talented team and more work than I can say yes to, which is a great position to be in. I love what I do and I’m proud of every job I finish.”
Next week Darren starts two extensions, one of which involves converting a conservatory, so it’s better integrated into the rest of the house. The other one is a 4x4m extension with bifold doors, a roof lantern and underfloor heating.
“This is the kind of job we do regularly, but I always like to suggest ways in which it could be a little different, such as some unusual lighting or flooring. It’s down to the owner whether they like my ideas or choose something else, but I enjoy the collaboration.”
Darren was the builder on this CARL Architect-designed extension and remodel of a Victorian terraced house in Southsea. He said: “I really enjoyed working on this project. It came to me through a recommendation after the owners had received a couple of very expensive quotes based on it being a difficult job, but it really wasn’t. There were a couple of awkward steels to install but that was all, and the owner had a good vision of how she wanted it to look and was a pleasure to work with.”
Darren’s other passions are his three kids, two boys aged 12 and 14 and a daughter aged four. “At the moment she’s a bit of a daddy’s girl,” he said, “hanging off my hip when I’m at home.” Given that he started off doing DIY with his own dad, I ask if she might be the one who follows in her father’s footsteps, and he tells me he wouldn’t put it past her!
Ta-dah! It’s our film premiere
Our first CARL Architect video is shot at a home in Southsea. Watch the video (3 mins 49) and find out what the owners said about their experience working with Carl.
That’s almost it aside from a few distinctly Gallic-themed links.
Do you have a favourite French wine or place in the country you return to over and over again? I love getting wine recommendations and travel tips for places on the continent to visit in my campervan.
You can get me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This Week’s Links:
- Château La Tuilerie du Puy is just over an hour from Bordeaux.
- In the nearby village of Monsegur, this tiny family-owned restaurant served four of us a fabulous five-course lunch for under £75.
- Stay across the road in this rather gorgeous Airbnb
- Visitors to Bordeaux will love the hugely entertaining Cité du Vin.
- An autumnal recipe – Toulouse-Style Cassoulet