This website uses cookies. By closing this notification you agree to our use of cookies. You can update this at any time via your browser settings.
To learn more about how we use cookies please see our cookies policy.
 

Waterside House
72a High Street
Cowes
Isle of Wight
PO31 7RE

01983 219967
commercial@spencewillard.co.uk

Cowes Office
Jamie Whittle

Waterside House
72a High Street
Cowes
Isle of Wight
PO31 7RE

01983 200880
cowes@spencewillard.co.uk

Cowes Office
Charles Spence
Charles Spence
Tanya Hill
Tanya Hill
Spence Willard team
Emma Bradley
Zadie Margham
Zadie Margham
Natalie Miley
Natalie Miley

Sherbourne Street
Bembridge
Isle of Wight
PO35 5SB

01983 873000
bembridge@spencewillard.co.uk

Spence Willard Bembridge
Spence Willard team
Sam Branston
Hannah Cook
Hannah Cook
Lauren Taylor
Lauren Taylor
Charlotte Branston
Charlotte Branston

The Square
Yarmouth
Isle of Wight
PO41 0NP

01983 761005
yarmouth@spencewillard.co.uk

Spence Willard Yarmouth
Spence Willard team
Duncan Willard
Lesley Samson
Lesley Samson

The Old Bank
Tennyson Road
Freshwater
Isle of Wight
PO40 9AB

01983 756575
freshwater@spencewillard.co.uk

Spence Willard Freshwater
Jason Siviter
Jason Siviter
David Langford
David Langford
Sarah Kujawa
Sarah Kujawa

The Square
Yarmouth
Isle of Wight
PO41 0NP

01983 761005 opt 2
lettings@spencewillard.co.uk

Spence Willard office
Laura Homes
Alice MacNab
Alice MacNab
Henrietta MacLean
Henrietta MacLean

40 St James' Place
London
SW1A 1NS

020 7839 0888
london@spencewillard.co.uk

Spence Willard London office
Bob Bickersteth
Bob Bickersteth
Katinka Stampa Orwin
Katinka Stampa Orwin
Contact
>
The Spence Willard Journal
Our Little Black Book of helpful information

Building the New Sustainable

  • Meet the Owners

Familiar Gurnard figure Jo Manser comes from a family of architects with both his father, who founded The Manser Practice which Jo now runs, and his sister being architects and his mother who is an architectural journalist. With over thirty years’ experience in designing large scale and residential properties in such far flung places as Dar es Salaam and Karachi, his great love is somewhat closer to home on the isle of Wight – private houses, of which his own is just one of many.

“I first came to the Island in the late sixties and early seventies on holiday with my parents and then got involved in sailing, based on the Island. From the late nineties, Sarah and I have lived here to a greater or lesser extent in houses that we’ve built and have also been involved in building seven one off private houses here as well as others within housing developments. If you work hard at it, there are still sites to be found and given how close we are in time terms to London, the price for a site for a house with a view over the water is a good deal less than it would be if you were in somewhere like Lymington for instance.”

The Manser’s home is in an elevated position due to being in a flood risk area and was built on a site which previously housed an old railway carriage and had planning permission for a dwelling. But it isn’t until you are actually inside the house that that  the site reaches a secret unknown potential. “We have a view over the end of the river  which is full of old boats and across the Solent and people assume that this is the best view but what they don’t realise until they’re in the house is that we have a long view up the river on the other side over the water meadows and the valley of the river so when you’re sitting in the house you have views in two different directions. And because it’s up in the air this means that the views are far better then they’d be if the house was at ground level.”

The house itself has not been built in a conventionally sustainable way but actually in a manner which in fact makes it more sustainable than many new builds these days as Jo explains. “ It’s highly insulated, we have control over the amount of water that we use, and energy use figures are  better than they would have been 10 or 15 years ago, but it’s designed in a very different way. The structure is made out of plywood and its designed on an 8×4 feet grid, so it’s all made of 8×4 sheets of plywood and is sustainable to the extent that there was very little waste in the construction. On average 30% of materials are wasted on construction sites – in our house there are no wall or floor tiles which usually amount to 40% wastage, the wood was largely uncut before use and the waste that left the site in skips was minimal. It’s a different approach to sustainability.”

Jo and Sarah have plans to build another house on the Isle of Wight and  with that in mind, what is it that’s so attractive about being here? “One of the surprises on the Island, is that you know it has a coastline and towns around that but there is the unspoilt very beautiful countryside in the middle and that  is one of its great attractions. There’s also the locally grown and manufactured food – cheese, meat, vegetables and produce and that’s something that not a lot of people know about unless they’re here. If you’re like me, basically a weekender, the process of getting on a ferry and crossing a body of water to get here is a good way of unwinding and decompressing and I can get from my office in Hammersmith to Cowes in under two hours including the Red Jet and spend a weekend messing about on boats, walking or just relaxing. Perfect.”