A Family Affair

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First-time selfbuilders Keith and Kirsty Conder worked alongside friends and family to create a contemporary new home on the outskirts of Exeter. They chose a plot overlooking the Ludwell Valley, so it was important to include lots of glass in the design to make the most of the views. The new build is finished with a zinc roof, aluminium soffits, crisp white rendered walls and oiled cedar cladding.

Built on Experience

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To provide a welcome distraction from the sudden death of his wife, retired quantity surveyor Martin Aymes built an eco home in the Welsh Borders. The new energy efficient house is inspired by the Victorian era, finished in Dulux Weathershield Malt painted render, with a glazed fir-framed veranda on one end. “I wanted everything that you touch to feel solid and long lasting,” Martin recalls.

Lakeside Living

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Melanie and Clive Paul's unusual timber-frame home sits on the edge of a lake and is designed to take advantage of the views. The house has a cruciform floorplan with an oak frame at its heart, clad in wood with a living roof. Internally, a simple theme was chosen throughout. “We love lots of light, open spaces and Scandinavian-style interiors,” explains Melanie.

Home from the Sea

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A group of 19th century stone barns nestled within six acres of lawns and woodland have been converted by Martyn and Kate Stringer. The Grade II listed buildings were restored, with Mill barn, the largest of the four, now the couple’s permanent home. “Restoring old buildings means you have to work with what’s already there, so the project changed and grew organically,” says Martyn.

Ten Reasons to Consider Timber Frame

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This article forms one of our series of Beginners Guides: Next Steps - available online to SelfBuild & Design subscribers

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Inside the Box

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Russell and Anna Hayden have taken an unloved 1960s suburban house and given it a comprehensive eco makeover. A new roof, replacement windows, external insulation and pale grey render, together with a cedar-clad entrance porch and new garage/studio have transformed the exterior. “Our aim was to make the house as sustainable as we possibly could, aiming for Passivhaus certification,” says Russel. “Living inside a passive house is rather like being inside your own healthy little bubble.”

Building a Conversion

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We offer advice on converting a redundant old building, including rules and regulations that need to be negotioated as well as design and finance, and the best way to realise a building's potential.

Interiors - Light, Calm and Unified

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A three-bedroom bungalow in Canterbury has been transformed with the addition of a single-storey extension. An understated kitchen designed by Nicholas Harris Interiors provides a bright, open space filled with natural light and simple finishes.

Interview with Angel and Dick Strawbridge

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Husband and wife Angel and Dick moved from the UK to live in a French castle with their children, and are the subject of popular Channel 4 series Escape to the Château. We chat to them about their childhood homes, careers and their life in France.

Spotlight on Bathroom Taps

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With a huge range of taps available for the bathroom, from traditional Edwardian mixers to modern wall-mounted styles, we look at some of the options and help you to choose the right tap for your room.

Expert Advice

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Legal advice: property law specialist Guy Elyahou discusses problems with a slow contractor.

PlotDoctor Roy Speer looks at the development potential of an old garage.

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