A harmoniously designed Edwardian house set within a local conservation area

What was your main reason for wanting to self-build?

We wanted to downsize from our previous property.

How did you manage to find your self-build plot?

We looked around the area where we live but found there were not many plots available or the ones that were didn’t suit our requirements. Our property had a large garden so we thought this would be the best solution if we could perhaps gain planning for a dwelling.

What was your financing route (Private funds? Self-Build Mortgage)

Private funds – Moving up from London helped!

How did you find the design process with CB Homes?

As the area was a conservation area, the Conservation Officer would only agree to a design which was contemporary which we were not too keen on. We approached CB Homes about our potential plot who said they were sure we could get planning through their architect that focused on a more traditional design whilst still kept some contemporary elements. There are many rules within a conservation area which was a big issue for us so this house was a compromise between the conservation officers, planners and CB Homes. The process with CB Homes and their architect worked well – they got consent for a more traditional design as they said they would so the process was really painless for us.

Did you have any specific design requirements, how were they met?

We didn’t have any specific design requirements, mainly we just wanted our house to be energy efficient and maintenance free. We did however have one key request; because we were unable to have a loft, we wanted a hidden storage area for books, ceramics and all our other things so we designed a secret area in the bedroom behind the walls for storage which is great because it is out of sight and means our home is clutter free.

What was the planning process like for you?

We did have a few problems with our neighbour because he said there were bats in the garage. During the site clearance the garage had to be demolished brick by brick and tile by tile which was costly. It then turned out that there were no bats in the garage!!!

How did you find the build process with CB Homes?

Not a problem. The timing of our build wasn’t to our advantage as the foundations were done in winter when it was raining and the ground is clay so on some days it was like a lagoon on site.

The only problem was with the floor tiles, which was not directly CB Homes’ fault however when the tiles were delivered they seemed a bit dirty and hazy, it was only when they were put down in a large number we could see that a few of the tiles were faulty – the tile glaze was compromised.

Unfortunately, CB Homes couldn’t just replace the faulty ones as they are produced in batches so it could have meant different colour tones therefore to replace them would mean taking up the whole floor. We didn’t want to replace the whole floor due to potential damage it could cause elsewhere so we decided to keep them insitu. CB Homes were very sympathetic and agreed to a reduction for the tile costs.

The process with CB Homes and their architect worked well – they got consent for a more traditional design as they said they would so the process was really painless for us.

How involved did you get in the build process?

Not a great deal really. We sourced the internal doors ourselves and got involved with choosing electrical locations such as plug sockets and T.V. points etc. We did find the project meetings invaluable and it was all very clear and professional, nothing was hidden, no big surprises.

We had the option to be involved more however the options that CB Homes presented were ideal. CB Homes did also suggest a PIV (Positive Input Ventilation) System which creates a fresh and healthy living environment by supplying fresh, filtered air into the house through a central unit and fans throughout the house, we decided to go with this and it works great.

What were your high and low points of your project?

The high point was moving in and just finding the house, design, features all worked really well and complimented each other. The only low point is the front door. Because there is a steel structure around the door we were unable to have a Yale lock so it does not automatically lock you have to use the key to lock it which we cannot really get used to.

What would you say are your home’s best features?

Warmth!!! We love the underfloor heating and how the house holds the heat in. Also having concrete floors upstairs which is great for soundproofing and just feels really solid.

What was the best buy on your self-build project?

The AGA was our best buy but we also brought a splash back for behind the AGA which we really like and just sets it off.

The whole process was trouble free and the end product was exactly what we wanted

What was your biggest extravagance?

The paving and patios outside as they are natural stone so rather costly.

What are your home running costs like?

50% less of what we were paying before

What are your ‘Top Tips for self-builders?

Do your homework to find a good builder and architect as this really makes your life easier. Have a good idea of what you want before you go into the project and don’t change your mind as it is very easy to start changing items throughout the project. Also – storage is key, you can never have enough!

Please sum up your self-build home.

We love it all. Very, Very Happy.

Would you self-build again, if so, do you still feel a Turn Key option is the best solution?

Yes definitely, but honestly, only if it was with CB Homes. The whole process was trouble free and the end product was exactly what we wanted!

Key project facts

The Crescent

A harmoniously designed Edwardian house set within a local conservation area

Location

Hartford, Cheshire

Land Source

Garden Plot

Floor Area

2485 sq.ft / 230m2

Funding

Self-Funded

Completion Date

2016

Build Time

7 months

Build Route

Full Turn Key Service

Key Feature

Designed around existing Edwardian properties in the heart of a conservation area

Interested in Self-build?

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