“We fell into building our own house by accident — twice over,” says Alexa Ergatoudis. “We’d planned to renovate a traditional dormer bungalow, but so little of the building would have been left standing that we eventually replaced it with a new build Georgian-style house instead. It was larger than we needed, so we decided to move on and find a renovation project, but when an estate agent pointed us in the direction of this plot, we couldn’t turn it down.”

Alexa immediately made a successful offer for the plot, even before her husband George had seen it, as she could envisage exactly the type of house which would suit the narrow infill strip of land. After project managing the first build she was comfortable with the idea of tackling a self build project, and began gathering together ideas for a four bedroom home with interiors reminiscent of an urban loft.

The Project

  • Name: Alexa and George Ergatoudis
  • Build cost: £550,000 (£1,930/m²)
  • Build time: 1 year 4 months
  • Location: Surrey

Planning Permission

“The plot stands in a Conservation Area so I knew there would be restrictions, but planning permission had already been granted for the site, so it was a case of designing something we liked which the planners would approve of,” says Alexa, a digital design lecturer who has recently launched a bespoke soft furnishings company. “We engaged an architect and devised a three storey design, which meant that the plot needed to be extensively excavated to lower the roof height to match the adjacent cottages.”

Three planning applications were made before the self-build design was finally approved, mainly due to the glazed element to the rear, which was originally planned as a two storey structure but later reduced to a single storey.

Loft-style self build rear exterior garden

The Build

Alexa and George chose to use the same building contractor who worked on their previous self-build, and once again Alexa took a prominent role when it came to selecting materials, liaising with the builder and overseeing the project. “Two days into the build our neighbours contacted us to say they hadn’t signed a party wall agreement, but we quickly sorted this out,” says Alexa. “It was one of those things which had been overlooked because everyone assumed that someone else was dealing with it.”

The main shell of the house was built in a combination of blockwork, bricks and structural steelwork, with a natural slate roof. Windows are a composite of timber and aluminium, with bespoke steel-framed double glazing chosen for the rear single storey element.

Loft style self build exterior entrance

Although Alexa and George originally had their hearts set on London stock bricks, due to a shortage at the time, they settled on Ibstock’s Cooksbridge Yellow Clamp stock brick instead

Loft style self build dining area

The stunning double-height void above the kitchen space, coupled with the master suite on the third floor, meant that a sprinkler system was required in order to meet Building Regulations

Loft style self build brick wall stairs window

Light is brought into the stairwell through the clever use of a circular window opening

Loft style self build dining table

The large dining table offers ample space for entertaining

Loft style self build grey bathroom with roll top bath

Two of the bathrooms feature freestanding baths from Aston Matthews, painted grey and supported on timber blocks

Loft style self build grey bathroom
Loft style self build exterior

Externally, the self build house has been constructed in a traditional manner, with brick walls, a slate roof and sash-style windows framed with stone-effect surrounds

Self build entrance loft style

Grey oak flooring, laid throughout the house over underfloor heating, has been laid in a chevron pattern in the entrance hall, defining this area

Loft style self build open plan living area

Emphasis has been placed on a layout that works for family living — with an informal seating area open to the kitchen diner

Loft style self build open plan kitchen

The rear of the house features a single storey glazed element, with steel-framed doors, which open on to the patio and draw light into the open plan kitchen/dining/living space

Self build exposed brick wall sitting room loft style

A separate living area with sliding doors ensures that the family have enough space to spread out. Grey timber shutters and exposed brickwork continue the urban loft theme

Loft style self build stairs landing

Selecting the same grey oak flooring – laid over underfloor heating throughout the house – helps to maintain the spacious, uncluttered effect Alexa wanted to achieve

Seld build bedroom exposed brick wall

Exposed brick walls bring an industrial feel to the loft-style interior

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