Stone-clad Country Cottage, Potton Self Build Home with double garage

Andrew & Toni Leese

The Modern Country Cottage

Having always dreamt of building their own home, Andrew and Toni Leese decided the time was right to search for a plot following 16 years of living in a detached estate house.

“We’d found an old police station on Rightmove which was being sold as a development plot for two houses,” begins Toni. “It came with outline planning; however, none of the neighbours wanted houses on the plot.”

Location:
Wiltshire
Land Cost:
£262,000
Build Cost:
£316,000
Value:
£725,000
Completion Date:
November 2013
Floor Area:
2476 sq ft
“Originally we had wanted to build a Georgian-style farmhouse but, given the site’s Conservation Area status, the planners dictated that we had to opt for a Cotswold stone property, so we spent the best part of 12 months trying to create a design which was right for us but also fitted within the street scene.”

After researching different build routes with a view to achieving as efficient a home as possible, the couple came across Potton at the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

Although we spoke to other timber frame companies to get prices, we felt Potton was more established and we went to their show home in Cambridgeshire to see fully finished Potton show homes. We also liked that the design and build package build route meant we would be watertight within two weeks.

- Andrew Leese

Planning Permission

From the start, Andrew and Toni made a scrapbook of the things they wanted, which included an open plan kitchen, a dressing room, space for when family visit, and a separate living room. The couple worked with Potton to create a design and, despite the sensitive location, the couple decided against seeking pre-app advice.

“We felt that planning is too subjective and based on individual opinion,” said Andrew. “Instead, we submitted an application for our original plan for a Georgian farmhouse and had the planners visit the site so we could explain our ideas. They said ‘no’ to this design, in preference to a Cotswold cottage with gables to the front. They also rejected the 12-bar sash windows – even though they featured on a Georgian farmhouse down the road – and told us we’d have to have four-bar windows.”

Once permission was in place, Andrew and Toni had sold their previous home and moved into a caravan on a friend’s farm nearby while building work was underway.

 

Hear first hand...

Self-Builder Andrew Leese shares his experience of the project.

The Build

While Potton provided the structural shell, the couple employed a local contractor to complete the groundworks and finish the build.

“We found our main contractor, Adam from Mirus Construction, through the chap who supplied the Cotswold stone from Farmington Quarry. We went along to see some of the houses he’d built and we liked that he was moving more towards timber frame construction,” says Andrew.

Andrew and Toni had never built a house before and both work full time, so they surrounded themselves with a great team who they could rely on.

“We were on site every day after work to inspect progress. As we were taking on some of the work ourselves, this helped us be more engaged with the project too.”
 
Having worked as an electrical engineer, Andrew was keen to get involved and, along with Toni, took on the plumbing, dry walling, tiling and decorating themselves. With Potton building the frame to watertight stage, builder Adam then handled the stone work and windows and laid the screed.
 

As featured in

Andrew and Toni's self build featured in Homebuilding & Renovating magazine.

Read the feature here.
as featured in HB&R

Building Energy Efficient

Building an energy-efficient home – and minimising energy bills – was a key priority for the couple.

“When we came to the village we realised there was no mains gas and our friend’s energy bills here were horrendous,” says Andrew.
 
“Because of the large plot, we wanted to install a ground source heat pump with underfloor heating laid throughout the house. Our energy bills are now £75 a month and we get £100 back a month from Renewable Heat Incentive payments. We had to pay £15,000 upfront for the heating system but, in the end, it’s worth the investment.”

Despite the year spent reworking the design, the end result is a Cotswold stone home which is fitting for its location, with the internal fixtures and fittings all sourced from local suppliers.

“That was important to us,” says Toni.
It was a really good experience. There’s nothing that would put us off doing it again and equally there’s nothing we’d change.
- Andrew Leese

 

House Design & Floor Plans

Leese Floor Plans

Gallery

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