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Dave & Kellie Signorelli

Dave & Kellie undertook an extension / renovation project in Swindon on a house originally built in 1929; they used block & cladding to construct a modern-style family home.

Could you tell us any interesting facts or remarkable features about your project?

The house was originally built in 1929 and formed part of the estate that was coupled with Westlecot Manor opposite our house. We had some good fortune in that we were c.5 houses away from the Conservation Area therefore saved some complications. We’re also in the bottom or a quarry where we had bedrock close to the surface.

Dave & Kellie’s Experience at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre

How many times have you visited The National Self Build and Renovation Centre before? Around 8-10 times.

What would you say is the most helpful feature or resource at the NSBRC?

The ability to be able to see functioning mock-ups of what we wanted to achieve was absolutely priceless. We used several ideas from our visits there.

Did you use any exhibitors at the NSBRC? If so, who? Yes, we used both Ultraline Sliding Doors and Aperio for the sound system.

What did you enjoy most about your visit to the NSBRC? Both the NSBRC staff and the exhibitors were extremely helpful - each time we returned we were able to complete another piece to the puzzle.

Would you recommend the NSBRC to a friend, and if so, what aspects of the Centre would you recommend and why? For us, this was our first attempt at anything like this. We had some help in that a close family friend is a property developer and actually lives at Westlecot Manor that I mention earlier, so they were able to help direct us in many respects.

Dave & Kellie’s Home Improvement Experience:

What first inspired you to undertake project – what did you hope to achieve? We lived close by on Bath Rd for 20yrs and needed more space, so we looked at extending but it became clear that if we really wanted to create the space we needed, then a house move was going to be the way forward. When we eventually found our new home, we were prepared. On the day of moving we took our architect along, so whilst we were unpacking boxes, our architect was measuring up. Many people say you should live in a property for ‘some time’ before starting large extension projects - and we agree this is important - however, we threw caution to the wind and planned out and executed this project in the knowledge we had spoken to many friends and family in the trade to ensure we constructed an extension that was right for us.


What was the cost & size of the land? £875k & 0.65 acre.


How did you find the land? Do you have any tips for others currently searching for a plot? The house went up for sale with a local estate agent and we saw it advertised.


Did you have any issues getting your planning permission granted or with building control? No, none.


Why did you choose your method of construction? This was simple, we knew we had to make the extension different to the pebbledash of the original house, and planners seem to prefer that a distinct difference exists between what was original and the new build. So, block and eco-cladding was always the direction we were going.


Did you use a project manager, or did you choose to self project manage? Self Project Managed.


What was your budget and were you able to stick to it? Our budget was £300k, and we closed at £262k.


If you didn’t stick to your budget, what was the main reason for the overspend? We did have a close call when we built the new roof, it was clear that there would be a visual difference if we had part of the house with new tiles and the older part with the existing tiles. We had several inspections carried out and we could see that the existing tiles possibly had another 3-5yrs left before they began to fail, some had already failed and had been replaced. The cost of replacing the entire roof was a significant sum that we hadn’t budgeted for.


Did you reclaim the VAT, and if so, how much were you able to reclaim? No.


What aspects of the process did you find stressful – and do you have any tips on how to avoid the pitfalls you encountered? We’re pretty relaxed and just got on with it. The dust, that was annoying though! I’d say, to pull off a project similar to this you need to sit down and adjust your mindset to allow you to consider your life will be in turmoil for a short time; so consider the undertaking, accept it, and rest in the knowledge that it’s not forever! In the broader scheme, 9 months is nothing, so we focused on that outcome.


What did you find most enjoyable about working on your project? In my business life, I rarely see something complete to a physical outcome I can step back from and relish in the fact that I was involved. So watching the project unfold, develop and complete is a very satisfying outcome.


What is one of your favourite features about your project? The space, the glass out to the garden, and the feeling of tranquillity as its so peaceful here.


How did you tailor your home to suit your lifestyle? We enjoy entertaining, and we have a young family - so the open plan kitchen and snug areas were really important to us. All the family can be in the same space, doing different things and yet we’re all still together.


Is there a possibility you would ever undertake another project in the future? Yes, a summerhouse will be next but not on the same scale thankfully.


If so, is there anything you would do differently? I would have thought more on the socket positions, and the quality of the insulation. Although the insulation is more than what was required, the sound proofing between upstairs and downstairs isn’t great. If I were to do this again I would use block and beam, which was the original plan.


What would your top tip be for other NSBRC Visitors about to embark on their first self build or home improvement journey? Ask lots of questions, as the people we spoke with were really helpful and explained everything we needed to know.