Case Study of the Month - April
From Greece to Bedfordshire
Location: Bedfordshire/Cambridgeshire border
Land Cost: Already owned
Build Cost: £345,000
Current Value: £750,000
Having lived in Greece for ten years, Jane Holland and Tony Sargeant decided that they should buy a house in England to remain on the property ladder.
Tony, who originated from the Cambridge area, and Jane who came from London, liked the rural aspect if the UK so they decided to look at a village that they both loved and where they felt they could live.
Whilst searching, they were drawn to a 16th century cottage that needed extensive renovation, Tony decided that they should purchase and he would tackle the renovation project.
After 6 months, Tony had completed the task. Having lived in the cottage for 8 years they both decided that they would prefer a modern home. As their cottage was situated on a very large plot, they felt that there could be the opportunity to stay in the village they loved and build a house in their own garden.
"Tony is always building" says Jane. "He just can't stop, he absolutely loves it!"
The site had many complications so the couple decided to seek the help of planning consultants 'Partners in Planning' who had a wealth of experience with assisting clients and self builders through the planning process.
There were many frustrating aspects to gain planning permission Tony pointed out.
"The turning point to the whole project was when the entire plot became included within the village boundary, after that planning was then granted without a single objection!"
Tony and Jane had attended various self build shows and been to visit different timber frame suppliers, and even though Potton's factory was almost on their doorstep in Great Gransden, they decided that they would like to use a Scandinavian company to supply their timber framed house.
Their choice soon changed when they attended a Self Build Academy event at the Potton Show Centre. There they met Potton Self Build Consultant Tom Allen.
"We had ideas of the type of house that we liked. The house is the first one you come to when entering the village so we were consious that it should compliment the village surroundings, but also be a unique, bespoke house. We had already decided on certain aspects which we wanted to include like a huge triangular window in the master bedroom and long bi-fold doors at the rear of the house. The additions maximised the wonderful country views which were visible from the back of the house."
Tom Allen worked with the couple to add features which helped make a truly bespoke and unique home for Tony and Jane.
"Tom added an artistic element to the architectural drawings. Tom can just look at a set of plans and immediately recommend changes which will enhance the final build. We were extremely impressed with his suggestions, we implemented them all!"
During the design stages the couple attended many more Potton seminars, they met people who had previously built their own homes.
Jane says "we picked up new ideas and learned about new products, the seminars made us so determined and excited about our fourthcoming project."
Tony wanted to incorporate several renewable products, he knew that this would affect their budget but, as he explained they are both concerned about future generations and the planet.
Tony and Jane used Screedflo, a brilliant floor base system which pumps the self levelling material from a lorry and it dries quickly. The couple incorporated underfloor heating, an air source heat pump and LED lighting throughout. They also opted for 15mm plasterboard backed with OSB to ensure firm fixings for wall hung TVs. bookshelves and heavy pictures. Acoustic performance insulation and magnetic plaster were also added.
"Potton and their team were extremely helpful and reliable, their product is of superb quality and they delivered on all target daqtes. They recommend different trades for each stage and these trades are so used to the Potton set-up that the operation ran smoothly. If in the future we decide to build again we would not hesitate in using Potton. We highly recommend the company", said Tony.
Following the erection of the timber frame, the project was completed in just six months.
This time span included building the garage and the first stage of landscaping. The couple were lucky enough to be able to live in their cottage next door throughout the whole build which they have now sold.
"Every stage of the build was exciting, especially the land being prepared, the timber frame being erected and the window installation, the builders worked so hard!" says Jane.
Jane and Tony already owned the land, so the couple's total build cost, including the garage, cobbled-setts drive and landscaping was £345,000. Their new 1,760sq ft home is valued at around £750,000.
"So many people dream of building their own home and wish to include luxury items, we have done both and have not held back on our expenditure, other people could save a lot on the actual spend if they so wished," Tony said.
"At this moment. nothing would entice us to sell this house, we intend on staying here for life. We love the village and this gorgeous house with its amazing views. The location is so near to our essential requirements like the railway stations, St Ives and Cambridge. I just don't think we could match our desires anywhere else" said Jane.
Now at the tail end of the final touches of the landscaping and being so happy and comfortable in their new home in Bedfordshire, Jane can continue with her own accountancy and media services company, and Tony can continue with his love of building...he is currently building a second home in Kefalonia, Greece.