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12 Design Ideas for Urban Homes

Stylish Contemporary Home in Notting Hill
(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

Self building or renovating in the city can be hard — property prices are high and space is at a premium.

Even if you manage to find a plot or conversion opportunity in your chosen town or city, its size and position can make the design process a challenge.

But don’t let this put you off your dream of self building in the city – these projects all demonstrate that it is possible, with some really striking results.

1. Eco-friendly City Self Build

An eco-friendly self build terrace in Sheffield

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

This three-storey end terrace has been designed to fit into the streetscape without emulating the neighbouring houses. This was achieved through matching the brickwork to other houses on the street and choosing a complementary dark stain for the Siberian larch cladding.

  • Build cost: £139,000
  • Location: Sheffield

2. Contemporary Home on a Corner Plot

A contemporary cedar clad house, utilising every inch of a tight corner plot in London

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

Occupying a tight corner plot, this striking cedar-clad self-build is 100m², including a sheltered courtyard. The triangular plot encouraged innovative design solutions including minimal street-facing glazing, but the result is a light and spacious, highly insulated timber frame home.

  • Build cost: £350,000
  • Location: London

3. Remarkable Contemporary Home on a Small London Plot

A Stand-out Self Build

(Image credit: Tom Gildon)

Born out of the constraints of a small site, this striking home uses a flat roof to minimise its impact on the local surroundings.

  • Build cost: undisclosed
  • Location: Camden, London

4. Cutting-edge London Self Build

A low energy demand, high design family home on a tight site in London

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

This self build on a former garden plot is packed with exciting features — including a hidden entrance. The addition of a basement was necessary to create a the 159m² family home on the small London site.

  • Build cost: £525,000
  • Location: London

5. Stylish Contemporary Home in Notting Hill

Stylish Contemporary Home in Notting Hill

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

A grill-like window structure adds architectural interest to this end-terrace home in the heart of London. The small site was split into two vertically detached houses, thanks to the corner location allowing the creation of two separate entrances.

  • Build cost: £100,000
  • Location: Notting Hill, London

6. From Office Building to Ultra-Modern Home

A huge 1970s office in the centre of Loughborough has been transformed in to an ultra-modern home

(Image credit: Paul Arthur)

From 1970s office block to ultra-modern home — a creative solution for city living.

  • Build cost: £500,000
  • Location: Loughborough

7. Remarkable Remodel in London

A Remodelled 1960s Semi

(Image credit: Ben Morgan)

Frameless glazing, crisp render and an extension have taken this home from a dull semi to a modern villa.

  • Build cost: £700,000
  • Location: London

8. Glazed Basement Extension

Extension for Victorian Basement

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

A large glazed basement extension offers additional family living space in this terraced home in the heart of Oxford.

  • Build cost: £4,118/m²
  • Location: Oxford

9. Cleverly-Designed Urban Self Build

Stylish Home on a Small Plot

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

Clever planning allows this single storey home to maximise every available inch of space on its tiny London plot.

  • Build cost: £230,000
  • Location: London

10. Hidden Contemporary Self Build

A contemporary custom build home in Kensington that is largely underground

(Image credit: Tim Crocker)

Two-thirds of this subterranean home is hidden from view at street level in order to comply with the strict planning rules in this London Conservation Area.

  • Build cost: undisclosed
  • Location: West London

11. Compact Timber Frame Home

A modern timber frame home on a tiny urban plot

(Image credit: Darren Chung)

Hiding this 75m² London home behind a high perimeter wall offers privacy for both the homeowners and their neighbours. It also helped to mitigate concerns from neighbours and planners about the property’s external appearance.

  • Build cost: £170,000
  • Location: London

12. Three-storey Home on a Narrow Plot

A Narrow Plot Self-build

(Image credit: Alistair Nicholls)

Replacing a 1950s end terrace with this new home allowed for a basement level to provide extra space.

  • Build cost: £330,000
  • Location: South London