Planning and building regs, Timber frame building structure
For Martin and Rose Church, the Norfolk Broads hold a special place in their hearts and they have visited many times over the years, so when the opportunity arose to buy and renovate an old bungalow on a plot overlooking the River Yare they jumped at the chance.
“It came up at the end of May 2017 and we moved swiftly,” explained Martin. “The position is fantastic with fantastic views across the river.”
However it soon became evident the renovation was not to be – the couple discovered the bungalow was missing part of its foundations for a start! They took the decision to demolish the existing property and start from scratch.
Once they’d made that decision, they had no hesitation in approaching Potton for their timber frame home – the company is local to where they live in Bedfordshire and offered a more complete package than many of the other self build companies the couple considered.
“When you look around you see so much inconsistency in the marketplace so you want to deal with a provider you can trust and Potton have that trust, they have many years’ experience,” says Martin.
Creating the dream
The couple knew what they wanted in their house and how they wanted it to look, and they had architectural plans drawn up before approaching Potton. Designing your house to your specification that is in tune with your tastes, was the major attraction of self build for Martin.
“By doing it yourself you can have the bathrooms the size you want, the lounge where you want it – you’re in control and you make the decisions.”
The result is a stunning two-storey home that marries white render with grey roof tiles and makes exceptional use of glass to ameliorate the amount of natural light that floods into the interior. Bifold doors on both the living room and open-plan kitchen dining room invite the outdoors in, extending the ambience of the house into the garden and enhancing the airy, open feel of the inside space.
On the first floor too, glass lends itself to the overall spacious design of the house, with bifold doors in each of the two bedrooms opening to balconies offering far-reaching and unimpeded views, thanks to the glass balustrades that frame them.
“With all the boats going past, the views from the front are just fantastic and the balconies, you can look straight across the river at the fields, great views,” enthuses Martin. “We have designed it to get as much light into the house as we possibly can, so everything flows.”
The ground floor is home to a third bedroom with Jack and Jill bathroom – a great idea for future-proofing any home.
“If you say to me, if you had the chance to do it again, what would you do differently, I’d have to answer not a lot,” says Martin. “We would probably have put bifold doors on the downstairs bedroom, but other than that the decisions we made were absolutely perfect, we got it absolutely right.”
Go on some of the courses Potton offers, they put you in a good place to understand the various stages, how the house will be built and the timescales, so you can see how everything falls into a plan and fits together. Working with Potton takes away a lot of the stress.
Knowledge building before construction
Self build was a new venture for the Churches and they wanted to learn as much as they could so they took part in several courses delivered by Potton, including project management and managing your build from start to finish.
Prospective self builders should thoroughly research what they want to build and the people who can help them, advises Martin. “Go on some of the courses Potton offers, they put you in a good place to understand the various stages, how the house will be built and the timescales, so you can see how everything falls into a plan and fits together.
“Working with Potton takes away a lot of the stress.” he adds.
There’s a lot to consider before undertaking a self build, including thoroughly researching the market, as not all companies offer all the services you may need. Quotes from some may seem cheaper than others, but at the end of the day, if the cheaper quotes don’t include certain required services, and you have to source and pay for them separately, they actually work out more expensive.
“You have to consider what you’re actually getting with your quote,” says Martin. “Make sure you compare like with like. Leave it to a professional who can do the complete job.”
He is more than happy with his decision to work with Potton. “I have no complaints at all. Potton did a very good job and they have a very good product.
“It was pretty smooth all things considered,” he concludes. “My granddad would have been proud – he used to be a builder himself. We would definitely self build again.”
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Martin and Rose Church attended our Self Build Academy courses, hosted at our Self Build Show Centre, and got the inspiration they needed to build their own home. Browse our self-build education courses that we hold throughout the year, covering topics such as finding land, designing your home, and managing your build.Learn about the Self Build Academy