Could you tell us any interesting facts or remarkable features about your project?
This is our second self-build. One downside of self-building is that you become intolerant of designs that are not perfect for you, so when you need to move house, self-build becomes the only option. We sold our first self-build and felt there was no way we would buy a house on the market - it had to start again with our own design!
I self-managed the whole project while Richard was in full time employment. We did much of the work ourselves, taking on specialist help mostly on daily rates with a few exceptions such as the roof membrane, the air source heat pump and windows installations which were quoted as jobs. We have taken this approach as we have learnt that by careful management you can save a fortune by only working with tradesman on a daily rate. We simply did not have the budget to pay a builder or have everything job priced.
We wanted to use hand knapped flint and had real difficulties finding a craftsman to help us with this. After a few false starts we found a master craftsman who stayed with us for 3 months to lay each flint individually. We even had flint quoins hand knapped, with no brick or stone used for corners.
We wanted a wildflower roof, but we were advised against this by suppliers as they are apparently too difficult to establish and suggested we go with sedum instead. I am delighted to say that we ignored this advice and committed extra effort to establish our wildflower roof. It looks amazing now and is so much better for the wildlife. It took us 2 years to establish it but now it’s practically maintenance free except once a year cutting it back.
There are so many features about this house we love. It is not your traditional square house; it has number of angles and it is on different levels to accommodate the slope on the site.
The main kitchen/dining/family room is the most used, but we really like how the property was designed following the sun; having large windows brings the light and warmth in.
Our sitting room has a picture window 4.5m wide by 1.5m tall. It was so heavy it took 7 men to install it. The view through is just amazing as we have fields and a valley surrounding our house.
Of course, we did have plenty of challenges with some suppliers and tradesman - but who doesn’t. It is naive to think you can complete a self-managed project like this without issues. We pulled together and resolved the obstacles as they came along to achieve our goal. You quickly learn to be resilient and resourceful.
What is the floor area of your project in sq ft or sq m?
Experience at the Centre
How many times have you visited The National Self Build and Renovation Centre before?
Lots of times - 50+!
Did you use any exhibitors at the NSBRC? If so, who?
We used Nu-Heat Underfloor Heating, BCP ventilation, Build It Magazine, CVC Direct, Icynene, Jeldwen, JG Speedfit, Kingspan, Kohler Mira Ltd and Self Build and Design Magazine (Silvia’s favourite!).
What did you enjoy most about your visit to the NSBRC?
We used to spend hours at the Centre just imagining what we can achieve together – our dream house.
Would you recommend the NSBRC to a friend, and if so, what aspects of the Centre would you recommend and why?
Definitely - and we already did! We mostly spent weekends there, we completed the Self Build Course which was extremely helpful especially with our first self build as there are so many unknowns.
Services I offer:
- Full time project management (including interior design if needed)
- Part time project management
- Wildflower meadow roof installation and design