'Totally Bespoke'

Location: Gloucestershire
Land & Existing Property Cost: £265,000
Build Cost: £283,000
Current Value: £750,000 in 2014

"It had always been a dream to design and build our own home, so when the opportunity came to buy a piece of land we jumped at the chance!" says John Horan.
"Christina had a very clear idea of what she wanted from the house and we both knew that this was a one-off opourtunity to build something that would see us through the next 20 odd years."

Horan before

John and Christina had been living in a draughty four-storey Victorian townhouse when a modest asbestos bungalow came up for sale in a neighbouring road. The property stood on a large plot, overlooking the Malverns to the front and Leckhamton Hill to the rear.

“Other people in the road had replaced or extended their homes, so there was a precedent, although no planning permission was in place when we bought the bungalow in 2011,” Christina explains. “The planners would only grant permission for a new house if the front appeared single storey, to match in with other properties on the street.”

The Horans moved into the bungalow – which was originally built in 1927 as a holiday chalet – and lived there for what they hoped would be a three month period, but which eventually stretched to six because of planning issues.
“The plot stands within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and locals were understandably worried about the size and appearance of a new house” Christina explains.

Horan After Collage

The replacement building is predominantly single-storey and appears to be a modest bungalow from the front, but the rear façade is far more contemporary and highly glazed, with feature windows on two storeys overlooking the garden.

“Christina gave up work to manage the build, and having obtained planning permission we contacted Potton and were put in touch with Sean Adams,” says John. “His professionalism, advice, support, ideas and reassurance enabled us to go forward with confidence. Sean was always at the end of the phone, responded promptly to emails and was a delight to work with.”

“We wanted to build a home for retirement that would virtually pay for itself in terms of running costs, and now that we’ve lived here for a year the photovoltaics produced £630 of electricity while our usage was just £380,” says Christina.
“It’s a warm, comfortable, energy efficient house and the whole build took just six months to complete, which was one of the reasons we chose timber frame. I would happily build again, but I think John has now decided that we’ll be staying here for quite a while because he absolutely loves this house.”

Click here to read the full case study in Selfbuild & Design magazine!
Bespoke beauty SB&D cover