Identical twins, Nik and Jon Daughtry, have always been two halves of the same whole.
The Sheffield brothers run a graphic design company together in the city, drive identical cars, and even have identical dogs. But it was in 2013 that the pair decided to take on the project of a lifetime, building their family dream homes right next door to one another on the site of a 200-year-old corn mill site in the north Sheffield community of Oughtibridge.
The entire build of Corn Yard – the £610,000 twin home development - and its many ups-and-downs, were featured on an episode of Grand Designs last year. The internationally popular TV show, hosted by expert Kevin McCloud, showed how the challenging project included the uncovering of the original water mill, which was then included in the construction of the two properties.
Each home, hailed as the best of industrial chic coupled with a sense of rural idyll, has five bedrooms and three bathrooms, with the properties perched on stilts to maximise on the rural outlook, with the original water wheel spindle carefully preserved underneath.
The 80-metre dam, which once provided power for the corn mill, was also been cleaned up and restored, and these days the tranquil waters are a haven for kingfishers, owls and heron.
The result is stunning. It’s a romantic view for Jon and his partner Ali Jarjour. The same view is the picturesque backdrop to Nik and wife Emma’s impressive open-plan kitchen-diner, which is flooded with light from the 7.5m by 3m floor-to-ceiling windows. The history of a still-indomitable Gaul Mature oak and ash trees overlook the modern-industrial homes, contrasting with the steel frames and wraparound black corrugated cladding.
“We wanted to pay homage to the fact this was an industrial space,” says Jon.
The exposed pipes and untreated concrete flooring are softened with plants, vintage leather sofas and velvet chairs. With the twins having eight children between them, ranging in age from 12 to 21, the houses need to function practically as well. Each home has five bedrooms and three bathrooms.
Corn Yard was recently named Residential Development of the Year at the prestigious Northern Design Awards 2018, and now the development has reached the finals of the 2019 RICS Awards for the Yorkshire and Humber region.
Sheffield architectural design specialists CODA Bespoke, who designed the development, will attend the RICS Awards final on May 17, at the Centenary Pavilion of Leeds United Football Club, when the winner will be announced.
“We are truly overwhelmed at the continued acclaim we are receiving for Corn Yard and are delighted that it has been selected as a finalist at the RICS Awards,” said director Abel Hinchliffe.
“Our vision was to take a 200-year-old corn mill site in the north of Sheffield and transform it into a pair of self-build properties that would retain original centuries old features at the same time as creating the perfect 21st century living space.
“This was a great project to work on but one that came with a set of very specific challenges. Not only was there the site’s past, which everybody was determined had to be preserved, but there was also the fact that we had to create two family homes in what is actually quite a small space.
“We came up with a design that filled all Nik and Jon’s wishes, paid tribute to the story of the site and, through the use of materials, also told the bigger story of Sheffield’s industrial heritage.”