Home-building programmes are all over the autumn TV schedule, from the show that started it all, Grand Designs, to the ubiquitous Sarah Beeny’s Double Your House for Half The Money to Charlie Luxton’s Building The Dream. But shouting “You should have listened to him!” at the telly is one thing; building your own is quite another. It’s not for the faint-hearted, which is perhaps why most self-builders are over the age of 50.
Self-building is, of course, a misnomer: few of them actually get their hands dirty, and we’ve all seen enough Grand Designs to know what happens when they do.
You need a vision, self-belief, and time and money on your hands. The sites below will help you decide whether it’s all a pipe dream or a realistic proposition.
An essential and entertaining blog for anyone who needs a reality check. Steve Carter bought a fabulous site in the Highlands and spent three years building a Finnish eco-log-house. To anyone who fancies doing the same, he suggests “seeking immediate psychiatric help”. But it’s hard to resist when you look at his photographs. Visit Steve Carter’s website.
A Huf house is considered a bit of a status symbol in the world of flatpack building. German efficiency is a big draw: the timber and glass kit houses come from the factory complete with a team of German craftsmen, meaning the whole process takes considerably less time than a custom project. Visit Huf Haus.
Lots of people think you don’t need an architect. You do. But don’t just go for the guy who works above the take-away in your local high street. This RIBA site will tell you where to find the best. Visit Architecture.com.
UK Land Directory
Finding land is not easy. Bungalows on fabulous pieces of land get snapped up (for demolition) as soon as they appear on RightMove. This comprehensive site shows all land available to buy in the UK, though you have to sift through a lot of pasture to find anything viable for your Huf house. Visit UK Land Directory.
The home of Grand Designs, which has probably done more to encourage self-builders/deluded optimists than any other organisation. Although not being currently updated, it has lots of excellent practical advice, from finding a plot to getting the best design. Visit Channel 4′s Self-Build Advice page.