In the next couple of blogs I will try to catch you up to where things are now and you will see some sketches and drawings of what I hope to build.

The design process took some time as lots of ideas and thoughts were discussed and considered. While I had hoped things would be faster I think the project has benefited from the time spent. It has certainly been an enjoyable process and I have learnt a great deal.

As you may know from my previous blog I decided to employ Roderick James Architects LLP. I did consider adapting the existing planning permission but both the architect and myself felt we could do more on the site with a new design.

One surprisingly sunny day in January the rain held off long enough for a site visit. I was so glad the sun emerged from the clouds to show the plot at it’s best. The low sun skimming across the southern boundary of the plot lit the site with soft winter light and sparked the imagination.

Prior to the site visit I had prepared an architects brief. I tried not to be too prescriptive to leave room for the architects unique design ideas. I think writing an architect’s brief is a very personal part of the self-build process and will vary greatly from project to project. I had a fixed budget and knew what I hoped to achieve. Whether budget and hopes are compatible remains a difficult question however! From the start of the process I have favoured the use of natural materials where possible I have always personally felt this would work best with an oak frame.

We spent quite a time walking the site and discussing different options. The site is triangular and this was one of the main features that shaped the eventual design. I also took the architect on a short walk around the vicinity of the site to show him some of the other architecture in the area and an oak framed house that had recently been constructed.

After considering the sunny but damp site and surroundings we retired to the local public house for lunch and further discussion. A few weeks after this the initial sketch scheme ideas arrived. I was very happy with the results and some minor tweaks and changes and a lot of discussions followed over the next couple of months.

The decision was made that a pre-planning application would help and possibly smooth and speed the planning process. So the sketch scheme was submitted and we awaited the planning advisor’s response.

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