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'Hobbit house' built by Sav and Heidi Pavlou out of car tyres up for design award

By John Nurden

Sheppey's own "Hobbit House" has been shortlisted for a top design award.

The home that Sav and Heidi Pavlou designed and built out of recycled car tyres has been nominated in three categories of the South East Local Authority Building Control Building Excellence Awards.

Swale council's building control team, which finally signed off the house last month, has entered the pioneering project for best individual new home, best inclusive building and best educational building.

Sheppey's finished "Hobbit House" is up for an award
Sheppey's finished "Hobbit House" is up for an award

Mum-of-five Heidi said: "It would be amazing to win this and then represent the South East in the national awards.

"It would be the best way to thank everyone who has helped us, from the councillors and planning committee to the volunteers who came from all over the world. We also struck up a great partnership with Standford Hill Open Prison who sent inmates to help.

"We hope this project has helped to turn some lives around and that it will continue to make a difference to the environment."

The awards will be announced at a black-tie ceremony at The Grand Hotel, Brighton, on June 22.

The experimental Groundhouse Sheppey at Brambledown has astounded experts by being rated one of the most carbon-neutral premises in Britain.

The walls are made from 800 recycled car tyres filled with chalk and covered with a layer of London clay. They are clad in Kentish ragstone and flint. The front of the south-facing five-bedroom single-storey house is made of glass.

"We hope this project has helped to turn some lives around and that it will continue to make a difference to the environment" - Heidi Pavlou

Volunteers came from Italy, India, Australia and America to help build it. It was also entered in the Build It Magazine awards for best self-build architect or designer.

The project has cost the couple, originally from Newington, their £240,000 life-savings and has taken 14 months to complete.

Their dream house has been driven by a love of nature and passion for self-sufficiency and sustainable living.

The couple intend to open the house to schools, groups and those interested in the eco-lifestyle to share their knowledge.

They have planted reed beds to process sewage, have installed bee hives and fitted solar panels for electricity.

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