Having holidayed in the Lake District for many years, it was a long-held dream of Mike and Gill Tate to build their own home in the area.

They were lucky to find a plot that stood just 200 yards from the lake, with access to a jetty and slipway. Planning permission was already in place for a three-bedroom house but Mike and Gill, with the help of their architect – who had also designed the original plans for the plot – came up with a timber frame design that looked “less like a holiday let” as the couple plan to retire there some day.

Timber frame self-build with stone cladding and render

The demolition of the derelict cottage that originally stood on the site provided enough stone to build the new house as well as providing the majority of the roof slates

Project Notes

  • Homeowners: Mike and Gill Tate
  • Project: Timber frame self build
  • Location: Lake District
  • Size: 215m²
  • Build time: March 2014 – April 2015
  • Plot cost: £270,000
  • Build Cost: £565,000 (incl. £35,000 for the garage and £40,000 for landscaping)

“Our idea was to design a house with a traditional “Lakeland” look, but with large windows to take advantage of the surroundings,” explains Mike.

Double height living room with mezzanine

The double height living space is flooded with light due to the enormous glazed gable and glazed doors which open out onto a patio area

Mike and Gill liked the idea of timber frame construction, which they felt would be ideal for achieving the characterful large open spaces they were aiming for and chose Rob Roy as their suppliers.

The tumbledown cottage that stood on their plot was demolished and provided enough stone to build the new house, as well as a considerable amount of roofing slate, which they topped up with recycled slate from the local area.

Keen to echo the traditional designs of the Lake District, a rendered porch leads into the split level ground floor. “The plot is sloping, so a split-level plan made sense — plus it is a good way to break up the open spaces,” explains Mike.

Painted Shaker kitchen diner

A couple of steps lead down and off the kitchen diner into the living room-by-room

In addition to a spacious, open plan kitchen-diner, which features pale grey Shaker units, there are two bedrooms on the ground floor along with a living area, set at a lower level to the rest of the ground floor spaces and full of light thanks to a dramatic glazed gable.

Grey painted Shaker kitchen

The open plan kitchen diner is broken up by a large island unit — painted grey Shaker units were high on Mike and Gill’s wish-list. From Tom Howley

Painted grey Shaker kitchen with Aga

The living space is overlooked by a mezzanine with glass balustrades, a space that not only adds additional living space but which can also double up as an extra guest bedroom when needed.

Mezzanine level with glazed balustrade

The mezzanine doubles up as an extra living space as well as a guest bedroom

Classic master bedroom suite

The master bedroom features a dressing room and en suite and enjoys views out over the woodland beyond

An air-source heat pump powers the underfloor heating that has been used for both the ground and first floors, whilst a woodburning stove in the living room ensures the large double height spaces stay warm even during the cold winters.

Split level living room with woodturning stove in slate chimney breast

The green slate fire surround is the focal point of the living room, which is overlooked by a mezzanine level

“The house works exactly as we hoped it would,” say Mike and Gill, whose three grown-up daughters regularly stay at the house. “It is not too big for just the two of us, but it is spacious enough for 10 people too.”

En suite bathroom with stone stiles and walk-in shower

Mike and Gill were happy to spend a little more on high quality fixtures and fittings as they plan on making the house their permanent home once they retire

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