Jo and Dave Reeves chose to build their energy-efficient self build on a rural sloping site with wonderful views. The site and views dictated many design and construction decisions.

The lower ground floor is partially recessed into the hillside and is constructed from insulating concrete formwork (ICF). Above is an insulated green oak frame from Welsh Oak Frame.

The house has an ‘upside down’ floorplan, with living spaces above, three bedrooms on the lower ground floor and the master en suite bedroom taking up the upper level. This ensures the best views are enjoyed from the principal rooms.

Project Notes

  • Project: Oak frame self build
  • Location: Surrey/Hampshire border
  • Land cost: £676,000
  • Build cost: £464,000
  • Building work commenced: Feb 2014
  • Current value of property: £1.67m
Timber clad oak frame self build on a slope

A soft palette of traditional materials references the local vernacular. The new clay tiles were specified with a mix of colours to soften the appearance of the roof

Dining and kitchen area leading to exterior

Charred larch has been used for the weatherboarding

Open plan oak frame living and kitchen area

The kitchen has a single-height ceiling that contrasts with the steeply pitched vaulted ceilings elsewhere in the house

Rooflights in vaulted ceiling of open plan oak frame home

Lime plaster has been used for the interior walls

Dining area in oak frame home

Bi-fold doors allow the homeowners to open up the space in fine weather

Staircase in oak frame home

The open plan living area is on the upper ground level

Vaulted ceiling in master bedroom

The third storey houses the master en suite bedroom

View of countryside from master bedroom

Extensive glazing allows the homeowners to enjoy views over the countryside

Sustainability and Budget

Eco features include rainwater harvesting, solar thermal panels, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and a mechanical ventilation with heat recovery system. The house was insulated with Ecotherm and further wrapped with Superfoil insulation. The couple also recycled bricks from the original cottage for the project, some of which date back to the late 1600s.

“To stay on budget many materials were either reclaimed, ex-display, or surplus to requirement on other building projects,” says Jo. “We are very proud that we demolished a house and built a new one without using a single skip.”

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