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Tip of the week

Be incredibly organised and specific– about what you want, because one person’s idea of a simple door handle may not be the same as another’s.

Caroline Keenan, who built an eco-friendly family home. See Case study Bright, Green & Beautiful

February 2017

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Set in Stone

First-time selfbuilders Dawn and Mark Fielding have married 60mm coursed stone with zinc cladding and dark grey aluminium windows to create a contemporary home that stands comfortably in its traditional village setting. “Everything has been designed around the lifestyle of the family," says Mark.

Coastal Gem

Sue and Dick Russill's contemporary timber-frame home on a cliff-top, overlooks the dramatic Pembrokeshire coast. With lots of glazing, a highly insulated timber frame and low-maintenance throughcoloured fibre cement cladding that is well suited to cope with the extreme coastal conditions. Dick says, “Some concepts we set right from the start. For example, the idea of entering the front door and being able to see straight through to the sea views beyond."

Industrial Revelation

A Grade II listed, 19th century, Gloucestershire gasworks, renovated and transformed into a home, required more living space. “The new annexe was actually suggested, interestingly enough, by the conservation officer,” says architect Chris Dyson of the single-storey barn-like bedroom wing clad in Corten steel, which forms a sheltered courtyard with the older property. “He thought it was better that, rather than fill the old gasworks with an additional floor, we should build a new annexe completely separately to preserve and enhance the integrity of the old building.” 

High Life

The secluded raised elevation with views over Exeter city and beyond enticed Alex Campbell to buy St Clair, a rundown pre-1930s timber bungalow, which had stood vacant for many years. On this awkward site he has built a stunning reverse-level contemporary home clad in timber and white render, with grey doors and windows and mono-pitch matching roof. A rear balcony overlooks the landscaped garden.

Fisherman’s Friend

Seasoned selfbuilder David Wring relates his experience renovating a much neglected, cob-built Cornish fisherman’s cottage in Newquay. A project that involved extensive rebuilding with some 10 tonnes of lime mortar, removal of tar and asphalt from the original slate floors, and overcoming dark, low-ceiling interiors with clever lighting.

Mountain Hideaway

Henry John has spent several years physically rebuilding the secluded 15th century Herefordshire retreat, including lowering the kitchen floor by hand and reducing the level of the courtyard to improve access. Investing in hidden essentials, such as damp-proofing and underpinning the older elements of the building, parts of the structure have been demolished and rebuilt using reclaimed stone, generated by enlarging window openings and taking down walls. Only the existing stone roof remains relatively untouched.  

Interview - craftsman, collector and timber specialist Henry White

Henry White's products are in celebrity homes, hotels, bars and restaurants worldwide – from the Caribbean to the Falklands. Both new locally sourced and high-quality reclaimed timber have been reinvented in numerous ways, including as sculptors’ plinths and presenters’ tables on television, and his products feature in numerous magazines. "Think outside the box and do something unique that's personal to you," he says.

Special Feature - Community Self Build

We talk to Cannock Mill Cohousing, a group of like-minded retirees in Colchester, who are planning to build 23 eco-homes with shared group facilities as part of a community designed to cater for their needs in later life.

Property Makeovers

With a little imagination, a tired, dated or derelict property can be transformed into the home of your dreams. We take a look at how to spot properties with potential for extension, conversion or remodelling into a modern home. 

Interiors - White Space

Interior designer Niloufar Lamakan transforms family home in a London Georgian terrace for £70,000.

Spotlight on Worktops

Constantly in use and always on display, kitchen worktops need to be functional and durable as well as stylish. We help you to make the right choice for your kitchen.


Top Tips for a Self Build

Readers and experts share their tips for a successful build.

Topping Out - California Dreaming.

LaLa Land has a lesson for us all, suggests Gerald Cole.

Expert Advice

Bob Matthews: Hybrid PV panels - Bob looks a a system that combines solar and thermal panels.

Legal advice: Construction law specialist, Guy Elyahou, looks at checking your out contractors.

Plot Doctor: A property with a number of outbuildings offers plenty of potential in Norfolk.

In addition to these features, the magazine also brings you the latest news from the world of self build, new product information, guides, advice on planning and much more.

You can buy the February 2017 magazine by clicking here

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