September Diary

This is the first of our new monthly Self Build Dairies following two of our clients on their self build journey.

Warwick and Lynn Wilson

Building on a Garden Plot


Warwick says: “We have lived in our house for over 32 years. It is a lovely old Rectory on the edge of the village. Our three daughters are now all married and the house and garden are too large for the two of us. However the site is very convenient, with shops, doctors and a station all within a few minutes’ walk. That, plus a lot of local friends, made us decide to explore the possibility of building a smaller house in the garden.” 

Our clients live in a large Edwardian house on the edge of their village. The house is now too large for their needs so they decided to downsize. They have lived in the village for over three decades and most of their friends and family are nearby. Their property has spacious grounds including a sizeable side garden so they had the idea to build their own home.

They approached the planners for an opinion on the likelihood of obtaining consent and were delighted to receive a written response stating that their side garden was in principle a building plot. They found Design & Materials via a web search and contacted us to discuss what we could do for them. Our Head of Design, Beverley discussed what they were seeking to achieve and carried out a Desktop Planning Appraisal. Our Managing Director, Bruce then provided an estimate of the likely build costs and happy with the figures our clients invited us to a meeting on site to discuss and agree a brief for the design of their new home.

Next time
The design process – Beverley presents her initial proposal to the clients.

Martin and John

Our client’s existing bungalow


Martin says:  “The old Woolaway bungalow was beyond help, but it did mean we had a building plot. With John’s lifelong ambition to self-build and my family history in the industry, the way ahead was clear”.

Martin and John live in an old Woolaway* pre-fabricated bungalow dating back to the 1960s. It is cold, draughty and looks tired and unattractive with no architectural merit. John had recently retired when he first contacted Design & Materials via a web search. Martin and John had been considering self build for some time and with Martin retiring the time now seemed right. Our clients were attracted by the longevity of the company, cost certain approach and the high level of service that we provide.

* Woolaway bungalows were a post war Government initiative to provide quick re-housing in kit form.

The plan was to replace the existing cold, draughty bungalow with an attractive, open plan, energy efficient cottage. Our clients had informal discussions with the local planners who were less than enthusiastic about a replacement dwelling. Martin and John rightly thought the Council would encourage the building of a modern, well-designed, energy efficient dwelling but strangely they suggested the property should be refurbished. So they contacted us for advice and our Head of Design, Beverley carried out a Desktop Planning Appraisal. Her immediate conclusion was that the clients had a right under planning policies to build a replacement dwelling. Buoyed by the news Martin and John contacted our Project Coordinator Ian Watson and asked him to visit the site to agree a brief for the Design.

Next time
Agreeing the brief and creating the design.