Case Study of the Month - February
Land Cost: £155,000
Build Cost: £365,000
Initially planning a fairly traditional exterior, Pip and Steve Gunn now have a striking contemporary design to call home.
Pip and Steve decided to self-build as they wanted a home which would deliver better value for money whilst allowing them to explore their strong design ideas.
The couple had been living in Surrey for 22 years in a three store townhouse and were used to 'vertical living'. Pip, a retired PE teacher, and Steve, a Rowing coach, had been considering the idea of self-building for many years but it only became a realistic proposition when the timing was right to move away from the area where they had raised their two daughters.
The couple were flexible as to where they might move to which made plot hunting easier as they could consider anything of potential interest.
“We found the 0.29 acre plot by searching online and it took several months. We knew we would have to move out of London as plots with planning there were way beyond our budget” said Steve.
Pip and Steve had initially planned a fairly traditional exterior with open spaces internally; however, the local council stipulated that a self-build in their area had to be one of a contemporary nature.
The land in Peterborough which they eventually purchased in January 2016 was part of a large settlement that had been put together by various property developers. “The local city council specified there had to be an allocation of plots for self-builders,” Pip explains, “so our entire street is made up of self-build houses of various designs”.
“We had some ideas about how we wanted the house to work for us and how we wanted it to look” said Pip.
The couple wanted open spaces in the living areas and were influenced by mountain lodges and barns typical to houses in New Zealand where Pip grew up. The south-facing aspects of the house deliver plenty of solar input keeping the family warm.
Pip first saw a Potton self-build house at a home show in the 1980’s and so were aware of their existence. Some thirty years on, husband Steve visited the Potton show centre in St Neots and was impressed with the quality of the show homes. The couple then attended a Potton self-build seminar in Oxfordshire where they chatted to Paul Newman, Self-Build Director, and decided Potton would be the company they would work with.
“Potton offer a bespoke design service that attracted us, it incorporated the planning service for what seemed a reasonable price” said Steve.
The couple met with Potton Self Build Consultant, Mark Day, who took away their ideas and worked with Architect Vicky Corbett to finalise the design.
The exterior is reminiscent of a contemporary barn, with a double-height entrance leading into open spaces and plenty of outdoor living areas. Knowing the couple’s love of being outdoors, Potton Architect Vicky Corbett devised a house which would reflect the couple’s various interests and could accommodate visiting friends and family.
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“Pip and Steve were very enthusiastic about contemporary design and their detailed brief really helped me as a designer and made the whole process a pleasure,” commented Vicky. “As an active, outdoorsy couple with a grown-up family, the brief was to create a light and airy home with a simple, flowing form.”
The property boasts three bedrooms with the master suite situated on the ground floor, complete with ensuite and dressing room. The impressive open-plan living room boasts a vaulted ceiling overlooked by a gallery landing. The living space was devised to ensure Pip and Steve were able to enjoy views of the rear garden through large sections of glass and the site orientation was the driving force behind the design.
“We plan to eat out on the porch or balcony during warm weather and then enjoy the sun setting in the afternoon over the view of Hampton Reserve, which is a beautiful natural parkland of 300 acres,” says Pip.
The planning approval went through smoothly and was approved with some minor conditions attached which didn’t cause any difficulties on site.
“From our initial meeting with our Self Build Consultant through to the planning process, there were no queries left unanswered” said Pip.
“We had several more visits to the show homes to look around and attend the helpful seminars, Denise and co were always welcoming and helpful”.
The 200 square metre home is constructed using the Kingspan Logic+ build system and incorporates Kingspan Kooltherm® insulation throughout.
Pip and Steve decided to work with a builder, GPML, employing them to look after the project on their behalf. Pip decided they’d employ a tiler and decorator themselves as local prices were significantly cheaper than prices quoted by the London-based builder. The fireplace situated in the open-plan living area was also sourced from a local company.
The couple have said they would certainly consider self-building again and would know which questions to ask as well as planning mains services into the build much earlier next time around.