Christian Bonard, along with the help of his architect Simon Skeffington of Architecturall, has replaced a run-down bungalow with a contemporary single storey home. Blending in with the surrounding woodland, the new dwelling has been clad in larch which will eventually weather to a silver grey. It features a sedum roof too.

The project was constructed from steel frame with Porotherm clay building blocks, providing a quick build time. The house was also built to a tight budget of £250,000 without compromising on high-quality materials and finishes. The project was a finalist in the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Awards in 2015.

Architect’s View: Simon Skeffington

Simon Skeffington architect

The design of the house is centred around two larch-clad boxes – one for living and one for sleeping – with simple openings around both boxes that lead out to the outdoors. In order to introduce daylight the solution was a large, frameless glass roof structure at the heart of the plan.

The building itself was quick and easy to construct, with a prefabricated steel frame structure and Porotherm building blocks. Inside, the property boasts three bedrooms plus an ancillary room used as a TV room in order to move the television away from the main open plan living/kitchen/dining space.

Project notes

  • Project: Self build
  • Location: Surrey
  • Build time: Mar 2013 – July 2013
  • Size: 175m²
  • Plot cost: £425,000
  • Build cost: £250,000 (£1,428/m²)
  • Value: £1million

 Exterior Façade

larch clad self build in a woodland location

Clad in larch from Vastern Timber, the vertical planks allow the single storey property to appear taller in size and blend in with the surrounding woodland. Tall picture windows and wide glazed openings help break up the façade.

Open Plan Kitchen

contemporary walnut kitchen with white worktops and walls

In keeping with the light, bright interiors, white gloss overhead units and worktops sit above the walnut kitchen from James James Kitchens — the colour of which references the exterior cladding.

Living Area


In the open plan living space, a Dik Geurts woodburning stove acts as a main focal point and provides additional warmth to the property when required, as well as creating a cosy atmosphere. Oak flooring from Wood and Stone Flooring has been laid throughout over the underfloor heating.

Light-filled Accommodation

white contemporary kitchen with pendant lighting exposed industrial bulbs

To meet Christian’s brief for plenty of light, large expanses of glass from View Glazing puncture the walls, along with a large rooflight (right of shot) in the centre of the space, which allows plenty of natural light to enter the home. Recessed low lighting around room edges adds a soft glow in the evenings.

Selected Costs

  • Groundworks and demolition: £23,000
  • Drainage and utilities: £5,000
  • Steel frame and superstructure: £32,000
  • Glazing: £26,000
  • Roof: £22,000
  • External cladding: £19,000
  • Internal fit-out: £30,000
  • Bathrooms: £10,000
  • Kitchen: £20,000
  • Services and heat pump: £29,000
  • Woodburning stove: £5,000
  • Landscape: £18,000
  • Design and build fees: £8,000

Images: c/o FMB

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