Welcome to my blog I do hope it proves interesting to you to follow my self build journey. I am very fortunate to have a fantastic plot in Hampshire and am currently working through the design process.

I still don’t think it has quite sunk in that I own a plot given the great difficulties I encountered during my hunt for land. I came so close to giving up at times but being a particularly stubborn individual I persevered. Stories and articles of the many who never find a plot made me more determined than ever not to fail. I refused to believe that there were no opportunities and immersed myself in a relentless search for land.

This first entry is not about that though that is a tale to come a little later. Today I wanted to explain how I came to decide self build was the route I wanted to take. I think it is a very important question. To understand ones motivation can help to capture and harness it more effectively. I never started off wanting to self build I was more interested in renovation.

I think the motivation to renovate was due to a mix of different reasons and experiences. I grew up in Hampshire in a very comfortable three-bedroom 1980’s detached house though many of my friends lived in much older properties. They were all so different from vast Victorian terraces to turn of the century farmhouses and ancient oak cottages.

For ten years I lived in a fantastic 1950’s mid terrace property in the midlands. I envisaged when the time was right to move on I would purchase a character property to renovate. Though my little terrace house over time taught me about the costs of maintaining an older property and the expense of improving their energy efficiency. Also self build suddenly started to appear more in the public arena and I watched with interest.

Three years ago I sold my little terrace and moved back to Hampshire. I began to think very carefully about what I wanted in a new home. I spent hours looking at hundreds of houses for sale online yet viewing very few. Gradually I came to realise what I wanted did not exist within my budget. I did not want an ancient cottage or a Georgian House or a 1980’s house I wanted the opportunity and challenge to take my favourite features from all of them and bring that into the design of a new build property that also benefited from the significant efficiency advantages of a modern home.

Of course it is possible with a lot of work and crucially expense to make old properties far more energy efficient. Their interiors can be sensitively re-worked to meet modern ideals. Though I think options can be more limited in listed buildings. I did consider and look for bungalows and run down houses to completely renovate and extend but they are hard to come by in the south-east and seem often to attract more of a premium than land not to mention potentially more stamp duty.

So I moved forward from thoughts of renovation and knew that self-build was what I wanted to do. I had seen and read about several oak frame builds and felt they were the perfect blend of modern and old. It made sense both financially and creatively. Now all I had to do was find a plot…..

Comments
  • Dominic Eves

    Sounds brilliant Joe, you’re right, it’s such a great feeling when you finally secure your first plot. My wife and I are currently 2/3rd’s of the way through our first self build. It’s certainly an adventure, but very rewarding too.

    I’ll be interested in how your design pans out. I’m in the process of setting up some meets for fellow self builders, from various different stages of the build, from pre-planning to completion. With a view to sharing stories, tips, mistakes etc and have a couple of ‘experts’ attend to help out with any specialist areas. There seems to be a lot of interest in the meet ups so I’m just confirming a venue.

    If you’re interested, drop me an email at dom@theselfbuildsite.com

    All the best

    Dom

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