SelfBuild & Design
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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

September 2010

This issue has over 40 pages of inspiring case studies, including a traditional Georgian-style timber frame, and two eco houses, one built by a German company using SIPs.

Group self builds can be some peoples' answer to achieving their dream home, and we tell you how to survive the process with your relationship intact. We also delve into the ins and outs of project management and how to manage your time and budget.

More details of main features can be found below, but for the full stories and so much more,

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Beyond the Palace Walls

Malcolm Griffiths worked 80-hour weeks to build his incredible contemporary eco-house, which stands next door to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. Clad in local stone, Flying Fish House stands in elevated grounds of almost half an acre, overlooking the palace’s magnificent Queen Pool.

Side by Side

Buying their neighbours’ single-storey bungalow and replacing it with a contemporary new house has given the Ashton family all the space they could want in an area they love. The striking contemporary four-storey building has blue aluminium-framed doors and windows, stainless steel balustrades and large areas of glass to give the house a distinctly nautical flavour.

Living the Dream

Rosie and Ron Beal have built a striking contemporary house in an unusual moorland location in East Lancashire which has already become a local landmark. Built using cutting-edge materials, the very practical home has been designed to meet the current and future needs of a couple nearing retirement, with energy efficiency a priority.

A Home in the Woods

Neil and Jane Challice felt they overpaid in a sealed bid for their dilapidated lodge house near Dorking. However they loved the house and its location and after two years of hard work, they have more than recouped the cost. The couple loved the character of the property, keeping this intact and building a 70m2 extension at the rear.

All in the Detail

John and Julie Bryant's Georgian-style timber-frame home took years to complete, the couple eventually moving into the house when it was still a shell and completing the remainder of the work themselves following problems with tradesmen not turning up, but the final result was worth the wait. 

Keeping it Simple

Ralph and Jenny Spence have built a holiday cottage on their family farm in East Mersea, using a German timber frame company. Despite its deceptively simple appearance, the house is built to a high standard, using structural insulated panels (SIPs), with 27.5cm rendered walls and triple glazed windows.

Stop and Stair

Make a dramatic statement by commissioning a staircase with the wow factor. It can act as the focal point, transforming the entrance hall with a combination of glass, copper, aluminium and steel joining the more traditional timber. The increasingly popular open-plan interiors also provide the space – and the light – to be able to accommodate something really spectacular.

Innovative Outer Skin

Architect Duarte Pinto Coehlo abandoned traditional materials in favour of Corian which offers a sleek, non-porous finish, and weathers well in the harsh Portuguese sun. The inherently strong material minimises any need for maintenance creating a uniform structure, and a monolithic and compact mass.

Going Wild in the Garden

Garden designer, landscape architect, lecturer and author, Chris Beardshaw divides his time between designing, lecturing, broadcasting and writing, and has created his own mentoring scholarship award where he guides an aspiring landscape designer.

Joining Forces

Many hands make light work, or too many cooks? Clubbing together and buying a plot, ordering materials together and sharing labour can make self build a far more manageable process both mentally and financially. It can also be a recipe for arguments, and a way to lose friends. We examine the pros and cons and give you some advice on how to get through it more smoothly.

Breakfast in Style

Using a kitchen from Mowlem & Co, Kitchens International designer Paul O'Brien has created a number of zones in this versatile kitchen. Paul needed to create a cooking space that was not only functional for a busy young family but would also be an attractive area as part of the whole scheme.