A tourist who fell in love with a hotel in Portugal liked it so much he spent ten years and £500,000 – building a replica in his garden.
Robin Taylor, 47, spent two weeks on a golf break at The Oitavos Cascais on the Estoril Coast in 2003.
While relaxing on the terrace one evening he decided “over a beer” to build himself a home which looked just like the five star resort.
Robin returned home and immediately began drawing up his plans – including excavating a sand quarry on the land behind his existing house.
He then dug out 700 tonnes of earth and spent a decade and half-a-million pounds building the new home.
His new four-bedroomed property shares many features of the Oitavos Cascais – including a swooping glass front and decking.
Robin even designed the colour scheme and decor inside the new house to look like the plush hotel, which sits in the Sintra Cascais National Park near Lisbon.
Dedicated Robin, who runs a commercial paving company, did most of the building work himself and has now unveiled his decade long labour of love.
He said: “I just remembered what a fantastic building it was, with the decking and the big sliding glass doors.
“I was just sitting there with a beer and thinking how wonderful it would be to live in a place like this. It had always been in the back of my mind.’”
Robin decided to build the new environmentally-friendly, ultra-modern, two-storey home in a former sand quarry that was once his back garden in Swindon, Wilts.
An architect helped him draw up a plan and he was granted planning permission by Swindon Borough Council in 2008.
Work got underway in 2010 and Robin had to chop down 14 trees, which he plans to replace this year, as well as scooping out 700 tonnes of sand and earth.
Robin then used 100 cubic metres of concrete – 15 lorry loads – to create the footings and retaining walls of the new house.
Wooden wall frames were installed with three 2.7m x 6m windows – weighing 22 stone each.
The completed house has four bedrooms, four bathrooms and a games and gym room.
It has an eco-friendly LED lighting system which is activated by sensors and uses ten per cent of the normally required amount of electricity.
Robin said: ‘We’ve built it from nothing. It becomes such a big part of your life. It’s taken years and has been one long learning curve. I know every single wire, hook and nail.
“I love the ecology of the house. It is energy efficient with natural insulation and under-floor heating. I see it as a modern-day living. It’s really open plan. It flows.”
The home, which is on a residential road, is bordered by trees and totally out of view of nearby traffic and passing pedestrians.
His partner, solicitor Emma Rubython, 34, said: “I still get a buzz every time I walk into the drive and see it standing there. I love it. What a place to live.
“I don’t think there’s anywhere like it around. We hope to stay here for the rest of our lives.”
Robin estimates that the house cost him around #300,000 to build but around £500,000 including loss of earnings.
He said: ”This is pretty much as we envisaged our dream house to be. We are not rich people. You don’t really think you’ll end up living in a place like this.
”I feel quite fortunate to have been able to build it and also to have built it in Swindon’s Old Town, which is where I like to live.”