'From a Hovel to a Home'

Location: Cornwall
Land & Existing Property Cost: £212,500
Build Cost: £200,000
Current Value: £475,000

If you ask Michelle and Andrew Earle where they were living during their self build project, they will say "in a mundic block built house we affectionately called 'The Hovel'"

Earle Before Pictures

However, if you could see what they have built immediately behind The Hovel you would not believe your eyes!

Michelle originated from the West Midlands and Andrew from Southampton, they have two grown up children and lived in the West Midlands area for many years, throughout this time they bought and renovated a number of different houses before moving to the West Country in 1984.

The last seven years were spent living in Cornwall where for three of those years the couple had been considering a barn conversion or whether to build their own home. They had already looked at 3 plots over a 2 year period when they saw an advertisement in the local paper for a 1/3rd of an acre plot with an existing house on it.

The plot was down a narrow lane and had wonderful views. It had no planning permission and was purchased by the couple for £212,500 in December 2009.

"We talked to Sean Adams from Potton before actually deciding to go ahead with Potton. We had a number of ideas about the house and developed them with Sean’s help and actually finished up with a design based loosely on Potton’s Heritage range.

“We wanted to make the most of natural light and solar gain and Sean was very knowledgeable and supportive throughout." says Michelle.

Planning permission was granted with no problems, that allowed the couple to live in the existing house providing it was demolished when the new one was complete, the new house was to be built almost immediately behind the old house so very convenient for Andrew and Michelle to self-manage the whole project.












They worked with local labour wherever they could,  a local general builder prepared the foundations and carried out most of the building work including the stonework, render and slate roof while Andrew prepared the plumbing and underfloor heating which was all commissioned by a local tradesman, he also fitted the external bargeboards and soffits.

"I still remember those memorable moments when the digger arrived to pull the foundations and when that huge crane arrived to lift the roof trusses in place!" comments Andrew.

The project started in January 2011 and after 16 months of building, the couple moved out of the old existing house and into their new home.

"Potton were very good and Sean was 'the face of Potton' for us" says Michelle, "we would definitely build again."

“The original plan was to make the house as eco friendly as possible but when we researched this in detail and looked at the costs versus the long term savings we decided to spend the money on high specification insulation and underfloor heating and generally concentrate on quality throughout the house” said Michelle

Earle After 2

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