A Snug Fit


In their long, narrow garden on the edge of a small woodland in a Shropshire AONB, Nick and Bernie Jenkin have built an Alpine lodge-style house that emulates a traditional country cottage, albeit with a contemporary twist. Initially considering an oak or timber-frame home, they opted for brick and block construction, on a brick plinth, clad in horizontal cedar, under terracotta clay tiles with oversized windows to give the front facade a distinctly contemporary look. Their build cost was £1,300 per sqm.

In With The New


Discounting Surrey plots as beyond their budget, Pip and Steve Gunn came upon an entire street of self-build plots in Peterborough, part of an estate of developer-built homes with an area reserved for self builds. Outline planning permission was already in place, though during the design process it became clear that a contemporary scheme would be preferred over anything traditional. Influenced by mountain lodges in Pip's native New Zealand, theirs is a timber-framed barn-style home with an ochre-coloured render, lots of glazing and spacious interiors. With a steel roof and Trespa cladding, it is one of 12 self-build houses in a street that celebrates diversity in house design.

Happy Healthy Home


Hema and Vinit Patel’s new three-storey eco home in Middlesex replaces a dated house with a Baufritz timber frame prefabricated in Germany, which kept site traffic and on site build time to a minimum. Building a basement was a relatively inexpensive way to add more space. “Originally, I wanted a more traditional-looking house at the front, but in the end we decided to go with a very modern design,” says Hema. “We wanted to future-proof the house, because building work can be troublesome, and we needed to know that the design would adapt to our needs as a family,” says Vinit. “There’s even space for a lift to be installed, should we ever need it.”

Art House


Paul Joyce has rescued and meticulously restored a dilapidated listed Georgian building, previously used as a Faversham community centre. “There is a certain pride in saving such a lovely old building – particularly one that was once described as unsalvageable,” says Paul “The biggest problem was juggling the demands of the planners, the conservation officer and Building Control,” he says. “There was a great deal of discussion about how best to restore the building sympathetically while trying to meet modern Building Regulations. Knowing that I was saving a beautiful old building kept me motivated during the long project.” Simply changing the roof over one narrow, dank, concrete corridor has transformed it into the most frequently used room in the house.

Home From Home


A luxury new home in Hampshire is designed to accommodate and entertain extended family and friends. The structure is divided into three interlocking blocks – a central entrance connecting two other separate spaces; one for guests, the other for family. The ground floor is a shared zone for leisure, socialising and entertainment. A steel frame forms the hidden structure that allows for extensive glazing and impressive cantilevers. Clad with Kebony timber and Vande Moortel Linea bricks, the large roof overhangs give passive solar shading in summer. Expanses of sliding low-e glazing provide passive ventilation and natural solar gain during the winter and primary heating is from a ground source heat pump.

Interiors - Potton Show Home Revamp


Designer Gill Deeks explains her approach to refurbishing the interions of Potton's 25 year old Georgian-style Milchester Show Home. Drawing on her experience of living in a similar home, the rejuvenated house will feature the popular large and open kitchen/diner/sitting area that works so well for modern family life. 


Interview with Architect Nicolas Tye


The award-winning architect, director of Nicolas Tye Architects, and a former chairman of the RIBA East region, talks to Debbie Jeffery about his practice with its head office in central England and sub-offices in Birmingham, London and Peterborough about their projects around the UK and internationally.

Find out more about Tye Architects

A Beginner's Guide to Insulating Concrete Formwork


Our beginner’s guide to insulating concrete formwork (ICF) a flexible and efficient building method that, with some basic training, lends itself to DIY.

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

See all Beginners Guides: Next Steps »


Interiors - Shaker Chic


Cool tones and quality finishes make this Shaker kitchen a relaxing hub ideal for entertaining. Characterised by simple and elegant lines with painted cabinetry that allows the colour to be changed as tastes and trends evolve, this absence of decoration makes the Shaker style suitable for contemporary and more traditional kitchen spaces.

On Site Heath & Safety


Managing your own project may save you money but it also means taking on the responsibility for on-site health and safety. Peter Eade offers some advice

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

See all Beginners Guides: Next Steps »


Spotlight on Cooker Hoods


Crucial to keeping your kitchen fresh and hygienic, cooker hoods and extractors get rid of lingering kitchen odours, steam and smoke to keep homes fresh, and are particularly important in open-plan living spaces, where there are no doors to trap unwanted smells. We look at how to choose the right extractor for your kitchen and show you some stylish examples.

Expert Advice


Legal advice: property law specialist Guy Elyahou advises on whether a contract can work on a handshake.

Plot Doctor, Roy Speer visits a farmer’s land to advise on its planning potential.