Potton self build home with long grass garden

Simon & Carole Murphy

Out of the Blue

Carole and Simon Murphy, both in their mid-40s, were living in Kent and had been considering building their own home for around 18 months.

The couple spotted a plot for sale in a village they knew and liked but were bitterly disappointed to learn from the estate agent that the plot had already been sold.

Several months later, and completely out of the blue, the plot came back on the market so Simon made an offer. After a lot of negotiating, the price for the plot with outline planning permission was agreed at £265,000.

Land Cost:
Build Cost:
Completion Date:
August 2014
Floor Area:
2605 sq ft
We love our house and think it is beautiful, but the thing we like most is how it has changed the way we live as a family. We now spend most of our time in the kitchen area bathed in natural light rather than in a living room dominated by a television. Carole and I are likely to end the day sitting together at the breakfast bar looking out of our large windows at the sun setting at the bottom of the garden. In the summer the bifold doors are open and the garden becomes an extension of that living space. 
- Simon Murphy
After researching online, the couple narrowed their search down to just two, Potton and another company local to them. Once they had decided on Potton, their first step was to visit the Potton Self Build Show Centre in St Neots. It was here that they met with a Potton Self Build Consultant who impressed the couple with his knowledge and understanding about what they were trying to achieve.

After seeing the Wickhambrook show house, Simon and Carole thought they would like to build a barn, however they knew realistically that they would never get planning permission for this on their site, so they developed their own bespoke design with the help of Potton.

A Minimalist Approach

Simon and Carole were happy to base the external appearance on other neighbouring houses but they had firm ideas about the interior design. They wanted to make the inside clean and contemporary, almost minimalist.

“We made numerous changes following our initial design, we moved the position of the staircase a number of times, we also added a fitness room before finally coming up with a design we were comfortable with and one that would suit our lifestyle” says Simon.

Appointing a Builder

Simon, a consultant himself, had some experience in project management and knew building could be stressful.

“It’s more the things you don’t know than the things you do” said Simon. “Potton put us in touch with Alan and Matt at Manwaring Construction and we were immediately impressed by their experience and track record. With planning finally approved we decided they would be our appointed builder.”

Simon, Carole and their two children sold their existing family home and rented a small cottage just a few miles from the plot.


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