Jude Hesselgrave and her partner, Roger Page, are self builders in the absolute truest sense, building their log cabin home by hand and going on to make doors and furniture, then searching out bargain salvaged pieces to decorate their evolving home. It’s a project that began in 2009 and concluded in 2015, with the cabin added to and upgraded over the years as funds allowed.
For Jude, in particular, their home harbours sentimental value because it sits within Sussex farmland that’s been in her family for three generations.
The couple had already sussed out the perfect spot to self build, favouring the site of a 400m dilapidated cattle and hay barn with a collecting yard, and a lovely outlook over the fields. Practically, there was drainage on site and they could connect to the mains electricity. They figured a log cabin would be the sensible route for their circumstances and pocket. They chose an inexpensive, basic structure — something they could build themselves and dismantle with ease if necessary.
- Project: Self build
- Location: Horam, East Sussex
- Land cost: Already owned
- Build cost: £60,000
- Current value of property: £250,000
Jude and Roger went to see local company Log Cabins Factory Direct. They chose a design where they could introduce more windows on the south side facing the garden, and patio doors on the west orientation leading to a veranda overlooking the views. To maximise the space, they realised they’d have to buy two cabins and fix them together.
The couple received a Certificate of Lawful Development in September 2015, permitting the property to remain their permanent home, and giving them good reason to sit back satisfied with what they’ve achieved. Jude says she and Roger are incredibly attached to their home. “The build was such a lovely process and we enjoyed every minute. We had our hard times, of course, but we’ve realised the potential now and I feel like we’re living the dream.
“We’ve put so much of ourselves into the project. We’re really proud of our achievements— this is a super special place for both of us.”