Out of the Ordinary


Ken and Illona Aylmer have built a luxurious timber-framed beach house in Cornwall, set on the cliffs overlooking Wanson Mouth Beach. Clad in cedar and black render, the three-storey build is filled with secret doorways, imaginative features and quirky touches which make it unique.

A Contemporary Cottage


Serial selfbuilder Chrissie Hill has built a beautifully detailed cottage on the site of an old dairy. Designed to complement nearby traditional farm buildings, it features stone-clad walls, timber windows and a reclaimed slate roof. Inside, the staircase is centrally positioned with all ground-floor rooms placed around it to create an open-plan flow.

It’s the end - and the beginning!


Mary Hynd and Jim Harrower have built a staggered house to create a leeward area on each side, depending on wind direction. Featuring timber clad walls and a slate roof, the upper lounge boasts floor-to-ceiling glazing to capture the view. “We’ve had to make masses of decisions and think on our feet… but that’s a good thing. We can recommend it,” says Mary.

Making Connections


The renovation of this West London townhouse by Jeannie and Edwin Kendal has flooded its interior with light. The side entrance has been overhauled with a glass roof, while cleverly angled stairs let light into the centre of the house, providing a visual connection between all floors. Externally, the house was stripped back to reveal the original brickwork.

The Need for Speed


It took just four days to build the shell of Ruth Butler and Julian Sutherland’s contemporary courtyard passive house using cross-laminated timber panels. The build is sensitive to health, well-being and low-carbon living. “For me the more difficult a plot the better the outcome in terms of design,” explains Ruth. “It requires something special and creative to make it work.”

The build was listed for the Passivhaus Awards 2018

Read this case study »

Engaging a Builder


Your choice of builder could make or break a construction project, so take your time to ensure the experience is a positive one. We offer advice on everything from the tender process and contract, to working on site, settling disputes and payments.

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

See all Beginners Guides: Next Steps »


Interiors - Glass and Glamour


Bespoke storage, mirrors and internal glazing have been combined to create an opulent London home, complete with pool table and arcade games, which are enhanced by feature ceilings and lighting.

Interview with Laura Hamilton


Best known as one of the faces of A Place In The Sun, Laura Hamilton has renovated 16 properties in 17 years. She chats to us about her inspirations, career and style.

Spotlight on Heating


We look at some of the best fires and stoves for the home.

Expert Advice


Legal advice: property law specialist Guy Elyahou advises on buying land without planning permission.

PlotDoctor Roy Speer looks at a potential plot on the edge of a Devon village.