Tom and Emily Hunt’s contemporary, eco-friendly, self build home combines style and substance for an affordable £139,000.

“We married in 2007 and wanted to buy a house in Sheffield,” explains Tom. “The end-terrace property we chose had a large driveway to one side, which had once contained two other terraced houses. These were condemned and demolished in the 1970s, but we hoped to get planning consent to build something else on the land.”

The couple moved into their new home, which also doubled as an office for Tom’s burgeoning media products business. Gradually, as staff increased, the business took over two of the three bedrooms and the need for larger dedicated premises became pressing.

“We were out on a bike ride in the spring of 2009 when we passed an amazing contemporary house beside a listed Norman abbey,” recalls Emily, an economist. Inspired by what they had seen, the Hunts posted a note through the door of the house, asking who had designed the three storey property. In return they received an email putting them in touch with Halliday Clark Architects in Bradford. “We explained that we wanted to build something smaller, in a similar style and for a much lower budget, and Adam Clark was extremely excited about the idea,” says Tom.

In November 2009, a planning application was submitted for a geometric three storey end terrace, designed to complement the streetscape without emulating neighbouring houses. This was achieved by matching the red brickwork of surrounding properties and choosing a dark stain for the Siberian larch cladding.

Clever use of a tight footprint was made by excavating back into the hillside to form an external yard/bike store, and by creating a roof garden and balconies to further increase the outdoor areas. A building contractor was employed to build the house, using structural insulated panels (SIPs), and the property has been built to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, achieving an extremely low overall U-value and high airtightness rating.

Window and door frames are thermally efficient aluminium, and the scheme incorporates mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) which when combined with the highly efficient woodburning stove in the main living space, means that Tom and Emily rarely need any additional heating, even in winter.

Whilst the build period was stressful, Tom and Emily can look at their new home and be confident that it was all worth it. As Tom explains, “we knew that it was all in a good cause, and now the house is finished we’ve teamed up with Adam Clark to offer similar live/work designs to others. It’s an affordable concept for inner city living, and has transformed a piece of unloved land into a sustainable home we’re proud to live in.”

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