Marianne Swinkels discovers a gorgeous new build family home on the outskirts of the city

Where: Mendip View, Flax Bourton Road, Failand, Bristol BS8 3UW
          May 2015

You’ve probably heard of Mr Bean, the pop-eyed comedic buffoon who turns the most ordinary, everyday situations into moments of excruciating embarrassment. This oafish oddball TV character played by Rowan Atkinson came straight to mind when I hot-footed it to leafy Failand, a mere handful of miles from Bristol centre.

For here was this stylish and spacious new build house flaunting its handsome frontage from the privacy of a very generous off-street entranceway opposite Tyntesfield National Trust woodland. A gorgeous semi-rural spot, surrounded by rolling open countryside, close to Ashton Court estate, with village walks right on the doorstep and cosmopolitan Clifton merely minutes drive away. All very splendid and enticing and, with a price tag not too far shy off the million pound mark, anticipation was high.

This must-see, new-to-market contemporary family home was mine, all mine, to view. Except I couldn’t. Which is where Mr Bean comes in. How in tarnations could I get to step inside this tantalising property? Not a doorbell in sight, no visible solar powered ding-dong thingy, no CCTV screened intercom device, or discreet buzzer, no hidden trip switch type door opening device. Much arm waving, peering, scowling, stamping and general flummoxing about failed to get me anywhere. Ah, and before you ask, good old knuckle-rasping knocking on the sturdy front door, if at least obvious, proved equally futile.

Were those sirens I heard heading my way? Which is when the mobile ‘phone came in very handy. To ask for entry from the owner deep within. And yes, to later share a laugh that in this up-to-the-minute house where no centimetre has been spared scrupulous attention to detail, a front bell was the last thing on the ‘To Do’ list!

Once inside, there was no going back as the decadent, vaulted ceiling hallway with its elaborate glass pendant hanging lights and lime washed oak flooring granted views of the galleried landing above and expanse of lawned garden with hot tub beyond. A promise of the goodies to come… And there are many such delicious highlights to be savoured in Mendip View, a substantial four/five bedroom home built only last year to the latest in quality construction, design and energy efficiency standards.



Here is a house where the focus has been on creating generous space and flow. It is the opulent open plan kitchen/dining/living room which immediately steals the show; an impressive open plan social space cleverly configured to cater for both serious entertaining and comfy family life. And there’s an emphasis on light, with glazed bi-fold rear doors opening out onto a stone paved patio and low maintenance grounds to the rear, and the front elevation expanse of floor to ceiling windows taking advantage of those pleasing views. And then there’s the all-important eco features and carbon footprint mindfulness, with an uber efficient biomass boiler providing heating and hot water at minimal cost, ambient underfloor heating and a coveted, nationally recognised Code 3 status as a Sustainable Home.Who would not desire such smart energy with ultra low bills? With a log burning stove nestled in a corner, there’s a pleasing nod to old fashioned cosiness too. It’s all a far cry from when the owner first set her sights on a neighbouring quarter of an acre plot with a near derelict bungalow. Not many of us move literally next door and this is a lovely exception of ‘can-do’ ness as the vendor embarked on her mission to buy, demolish and, with an architect on board, create a new dream home from scratch. It is her determination, as a professional interior designer, to stamp her individual design taste on the house that will really impress if you’ve a yen for this chic abode.

There’s a happy blend of new and old here; a residence where modernist minimalism is softened with antique and vintage touches. The seamless and super length curved island, worktops with under counter LED lighting and integrated appliances in the right-on-trend Italian kitchen sit well alongside the French Rococo style mirrors and glass pendant lighting. The white walls and tranquil grey/green paint tones form the perfect backdrop to show off fabrics, paintings, ceramics, collection of sparkly lights and bespoke items of furniture. The overall sumptuous, plush and show home feel of Mendip View is not confined to the downstairs rooms.

The luxury bathrooms and bedrooms – and yes! everywoman’s wish, an entire walk-in ‘wardrobe’ room – are equally stylish. Reflecting as I headed home to my old, creaking, scruffy and quirky country gaff, I have to admit to a tinge of envy for the exacting and high standards of this brand new property, and an environment where contemporary design accommodates every home comfort with ease. Oh, and giant Mandarin stone Ali-Baba like bathroom sinks are now high on my wish list.

As is the desire to splash out on a decent door bell.


Where: Mendip View, Flax Bourton Road, Failand, Bristol BS8 3UW

What: Stylish and spacious new build family home in prime out-of-city location.

Specifications: Substantial 4/5 bedroom home in circa 0.25 acre private gardens. A Code 3 Sustainable Home with biomass boiler. Off street parking. Contemporary open-plan kitchen /dining/living space.

Guide price: £949,000

Agent: Alexander May (Long Ashton Office),

Contact: Email: or tel: 01275 393 956