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 2017

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Down In The Dunes

First-time selfbuilders Iain and Anna Wilson have built an impressive reverse-level beach house in sand dunes on the north Cornwall coast. Working within a challenging triangular plot involved concept designs and 3D models. “Initially I’d thought I could do everything myself,” says Iain, “but it became obvious that getting help from the experts really added to the design process.” Ground work included extensive piling “The piles are between three and 10m deep, in order to reach the rock below, so the house is effectively built on stilts,” says Iain.

The Polite Imposter

Walk past Richard and Rebecca Elliot’s new south-east London home and you wouldn't give it a second glance – their newly-built brick and blockwork semi-detached was designed to mimic its Victorian neighbours at the front, but step inside and the airy, contemporary interior defies expectation. The three-storey, 5-bedroom, 232sqm house centres around a statement staircase and there is a decked area on a flat roof at the rear of the property.

A New Dawn

After losing her husband to cancer, Marcia Candy project managed their selfbuild in Wiltshire, creating a stylish oak-framed home. Having had planning turned down in the 90s, the Candys consulted the local planning officer before making a fresh application. "She suggested that we look at something single storey and ‘barn-like’, and position the property away from the road,” says Marcia. "I spent a long time assessing  and tweaking the plans before starting the building work, and I had spreadsheets to track costs, making sure I could afford it along the way.” 

Doing It For Themselves

With plenty of elbow grease and careful budgeting, Alexandra and Toby Hull have transformed a run-down former council house into a quirky and stylish home for £80,000. The renovation involved completely gutting the house. “The property’s saving grace was the lovely brick, but there was very little else we could keep. We did discover fantastic concrete shuttering on the pantry ceiling,” says Alexandra. “We also kept the decorative portico around the porch, and the roof tiles just needed cleaning, but virtually everything else is new.” Planning permission was secured to demolish the conservatory and replace it with a newly built utility room and WC.

Interview – Victoria Brocklesby

We talk to Victoria Brocklesby, who at 22 set up Origin Frames Ltd with her cousin Neil Ginger, and she answers some bifold door FAQs. Since 2002, Origin has grown from a small family business into one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of bifold and residential doors, windows and blinds, with 270 employees. Everything is designed and manufactured to customers’ bespoke specifications at the Buckinghamshire-based factory, with another factory in North America and a sales office in Dubai. 

Internal Wall Finishes

Materials and finishes that can transform your room from bland to grand. You don’t need to be Banksy to turn internal walls into works of art, with a choice of materials to add texture and drama to your interiors. Our beginners guide looks at some of the possibilities - wet or dry, traditional or modern wallpaper and paint, tiles, panelling, exposed brickwork, timber, and more. 

Interiors Makeover - Family Fun

With bold colour, bright colour and grafitti-style stencil features, Nicky Mudie has transformed a Grade II listed apartment overlooking Hyde Park from sterile and impersonal into a distinctive playful and vibrant family-friendly space inspired by the owners' keen eye for contemporary art.

Spiral Staircases

Be inspired to create a dramatic feature stairway.

Spotlight on Kitchen Sinks

This integral part of your kitchen needn't be dull - take inspiration from our feature on kitchen sinks in a wide choice of materials.

Topping Out

The Times they are a-changing - housebuilding is undergoing a quiet revolution, says Gerald Cole, with new materials and new methods.

Expert Advice

Ray Vince asks "What makes a good self-build?"

Legal advice: Property law specialist, Guy Elyahou, advised on the possibility of compensation for ‘mis-selling’ of a flat.

Plot Doctor, Roy Speer, considers design options for a garage plot with outline planning permission.


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,Top Tips for your SelfBuild and much more.

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