When architectural designer Phil Newbold and his wife Joy decided to self build their traditional-style cottage, they chose to use ultra energy-efficient insulation materials and building techniques.

As a result, Greendale Cottage is the first in the county of Durham to achieve a Band A SAP rating, with a score of 97/100.

Constructed in a Conservation Area and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the new build mirrors the traditional form and materials typical of this part of the Dales. This includes an L-shaped floorplan, stone cladding and reclaimed roof tiles.

Project Notes

  • Project: Traditional-style eco cottage
  • Location: County Durham
  • Build time: Jan 2012-Feb 2013
  • Construction system: Double stud bespoke timber frame with stone outer skin and slate roof
  • Size: 116m²
  • Plot cost: £70,000
  • Build cost: £180,000
Greendale Cottage During Construction

The front south-facing façade before local stone cladding is added

Cottage in Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Greendale Cottage is in a Conservation Area and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Living space

The living room features a traditional stone fireplace, oak flooring and a room-sealed woodburning stove. The triple-glazed faux-sliding windows were imported from Lithuania


The first floor has two generous bedrooms and a guest bedroom-cum-home office. The 550mm-thick super insulated walls create deep window sills throughout the house

Traditional style kitchen

Laminate oak-effect worktops, painted cabinetry, limestone flooring and a false alcove for the range cooker all suggest a period stone cottage. Phil placed the LED lighting over the worktops rather than the centre of the room, ensuring that light is directly above the food prep area


Phil rebuilt the existing outbuildings on site, one as a potting shed and one as a summerhouse for Joy. A small woodburning stove means that the summerhouse can be used in winter

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