“I’ll only go to Octagon again”

Thirty years ago, Pauline and her husband Toni, with three children in tow, set about building their dream family home in Effingham, and, knowing the reputation of the luxury Surrey-based housebuilder, asked Octagon to take the helm.

But with a relatively small team building just a handful of new homes each year at the time, Octagon unfortunately did not have the resources to undertake the bespoke project, and had to turn the opportunity down.

“I have always loved how Octagon have built houses, which is why we went straight to them with our ideas. But we did want a completely unique home, built to our exact specifications, and sadly that wasn’t something they were able to facilitate at the time.”

Fast forward 30 years, to a house on the prestigious Oxshott Way Estate that the couple had owned and rented out for many years, which had grown tired and dated.

“Knowing that Octagon had launched their Bespoke division, they were the first people we called when we had made the decision to completely pull it down and start again!”

Putting together plans for a 12,000 sq ft, 6 bedroom, three storey home on the ½ acre plot with the housebuilder’s specialist team, the couple were very involved in the build from the get-go.

“This was our third self-build, so we understood the process and knew what we wanted. The Italian way is to have the master suite positioned on the ground floor overlooking the garden, so we took inspiration from our holiday home and created a fantastic master suite with private lounge, two walk in wardrobes and a shared bathroom – it’s a real oasis!

“The previous builds we undertook didn’t go quite so smoothly, and we learnt that the moment you start changing things during the build is the moment your budget goes out the window. So we made the majority of the decisions at the very beginning, and stuck to them.”

This decision turned out to be even more important than they could have anticipated, as Toni sadly passed away before the couples’ project was completed.

“As you can imagine, everything stalled for me when my husband died. But Octagon carried on with the build – they didn’t pressure me for payment and they didn’t push me for answers. The decisions had already been made, and they stuck to the build plan no questions asked. I feel for anyone who has found themselves in my position, that has been through this and didn’t have the same level of support and understanding.

“Gordon was our Site Manager – coincidentally, he worked on our Effingham house all those years ago with another housebuilder, and he recognised us the moment we came to site! Octagon’s site team are so clean and tidy and their workmanship is amazing, I couldn’t fault them. It really makes a difference and shows they care.”

Deciding not to move into her new home, but to rent it instead, the spacious house – complete with gym, sauna, cinema room, billiards room and wine cellar – has been let quickly.

“I was shown a previous Octagon home on St George’s Hill and loved the wallpapers – my style is bright and elegant, and I picked the finishes I would like in my home. The kitchen is one of the most important rooms for me – the quartz worktops and splash back contrast against the high gloss cabinetry, and we installed a teppanyaki plate on the island for cooking.”

A dumb waiter connects to the service kitchen on the lower ground floor, which is also the end of the laundry shoot – with openings on each floor.

A dedicated breakfast bar hidden within a cupboard would houses the toaster, kettle and provisions for the morning, while a temperature controlled walk-in larder has plenty of space for supplies. The boot room doubles as a ‘dog room’ – something every owner of a four-legged friend would certainly appreciate.

A one-bedroom apartment with private entrance sits above the three garages, offering privacy and space to live-in staff while the outdoor pool is finished with a retractable fountain – ideal for swimming lengths in the daytime and becoming a garden feature in the evening.

Now potentially looking to have some work done on her Effingham home, Pauline has no doubt as to who she wants on board.

“Octagon were absolutely amazing. Working with them has been a pleasure, and they made my life easier at the most difficult time. Everything I’ve asked for they’ve done, and more.

“I’ll only go to Octagon again.”