Modern timber frame Potton home, Devon

Josh & Nathalie Cherry

Out of the Woods

Josh and Nathalie Cherry battled for years to build a timber frame house in the style of a contemporary, cedar-clad barn in their garden.

When the couple bought an old cottage in need of renovation, it came with lapsed planning permission to build another house in the garden, but a covenant resulted in a long and unexpected battle.

“We intended from the start to reinstate the planning and build in the walled garden, but this was put on hold once we discovered the existence of the covenant,” explains Nathalie.

“It actually took over three years before everything was resolved, during which time we refurbished the cottage and moved in.”

Land Cost:
Build Cost:
Completion Date:
March 2017
Floor Area:
2185 sq ft
Josh, Nathalie and their three children created a cosy, four bedroom home in the cottage but were keen to start phase two of their project which involved designing and building a new timber frame house on the site within the walled garden.

Getting Ideas on Paper

Josh is a carpenter, experienced in building timber frame homes for Potton, running his own crew. He also grew up in New Zealand, where houses are commonly constructed using timber, so building his own home was the obvious choice.

Josh and Nathalie worked with Sean Adams – Potton’s self build and planning consultant for the South West, to design a bespoke home for the plot, which stands within a conservation area on the outskirts of Exeter, overlooking open fields.

“Josh already had very firm ideas about what he wanted, but we needed Sean’s guidance and expertise to get everything down on paper” Nathalie explains. “We wanted a two-storey home, facing south, with a kitchen/dining/living space opening onto the garden through bifold doors.”

First floor rooms have been designed within the roof space in a chalet style, to reduce the overall height of the property and prevent overlooking. Externally, the house has been clad in horizontal cedar weatherboarding; the original plan included an integral garage, but this was later changed to a matching detached garage at the request of the planners.

“We’d approached the local council prior to submitting our planning application, and this informal pre-application advice received positive comments from the planners and was agreeable to the neighbours” says Nathalie. “Detailed planning was finally approved, with conditions about things like protecting tree roots.”
Best Potton Home Award

Best Potton Home Winner

Josh and Nathalie's self build won the Best Potton Home 2017 Award as voted for by you.

Building in the Garden

The garden plot was fenced off and the family continued to live in the cottage during the build. The site already benefitted from separate vehicular access, and the new house has been positioned far back on the plot so that almost all of the garden is to the front, with rooms facing south.

“This layout is actually fairly common in New Zealand, where we’ve lived, but also serves to protect tree roots and our neighbours’ privacy” Nathalie explains.

Josh and his team then erected the Potton timber frame over a period of three weeks.

Although Josh and Nathalie had initially planned to build the house for their own occupation they were also open to the idea of selling the property and moving on.

“We were amazed by the interest and attention the build received, and in the end we sold to another family at plasterboard stage” Nathalie explains. “It meant that they could make small changes to the layout, but at that point we had already bought fixtures and fittings including the kitchen."

An air source heat pump heats the hot water and is connected to the zoned underfloor heating, which was installed throughout the house. Potton also supplied certain second fix items, with Josh and Nathalie sourcing everything else, from the oak internal doors to sanitaryware.

Floor Plans

Cherry Floor Plan


Image_Case Study_Cherry_1


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