Guest Post: Building your own Home

Building your own home is not an easy task. At first it sounds amazing, like a dream, until the windows arrive in the wrong size, you’re up all night doing finance calculations, and you have to borrow more money from the bank.

Me and Jay want to build our next home. It’s a huge task, which is why I’ve brought this guest post to you from Elle at Ridge and Furrow. I first noticed Elle on Instagram, and her amazing barn conversion which her and her husband built up from scratch. I was intrigued about how they’d achieved the home they have now, so invited her to share her story with me:

 

Firstly, where’s your home and when did you buy it?

Location: we’re in Gloucestershire along the Cotswolds’ ridge.  We bought the barn in 2012 when I was 7 months pregnant with our first child. We were living in a nearby town and wanted to move to the country but stay in the area.

 

What made you consider building your own home?

I’d always dreamed of building my own home. I wanted to be an architect when I was a kid but didn’t care for the technical side of it. When I met my husband we got talking about building on our first date. He shared my zeal and promised he’d build me a house one day.

 

How did you choose the land/building/location?

We searched for years for a home in the countryside that we could afford and wasn’t too much of a compromise. We also searched for land in NZ (where my husband is from) thinking that if we were going to build it would have to be over there as land for building in this country is really difficult to come by, usually exceedingly expensive and or compromised by location/size. Then there’s planning restrictions to contend with.

We weren’t looking for a barn but we stumbled upon it advertised in the window of the estate agent just across the road from us in town. We’d put in a sealed bid which is a nerve wracking process but we got lucky. We weren’t the highest bidder but our proposal pleased the owner.

The barn already had planning permission to become a 2-bed house. We didn’t like the plans though as they covered over all the internal structure of the barn and didn’t make use of the height of the space. So we drew up our own plans. We did this by ourselves without an architect, though we did consult a structural engineer to make sure everything load bearing would hold up.

 

Was there any work you did yourself? Or did you mostly hire tradesmen?

My husband did all the work himself including the trades – plumbing and electrics but got in professionals to check and sign off these. The only things that were here when we bought the place were the brick and stone walls and the roof. My husband made everything else including the fireplace and chimney, all the wooden frames that make the upper floors, stairs, and wooden division walls. We did get a professional carpenter to make the doors and windows.

 

How long did it take you to finish it?

We’ve been living here for 2 years. We moved in with a temporary kitchen which is only now being finished. It’ll never really be finished but it feels less like a building site now.

 

Top Tip:

Hold your nerve and remember what you wanted to achieve in the first place.

 

Did building your own home take longer than you thought? If yes, what setbacks did you have?

No real set backs but we weren’t realistic to start with. We wanted to be in before our first child began walking, but he was 3 before we moved in and he had a baby brother who was just starting to walk.

 

Where did you live during the renovation?

We stayed on in our house in town with the kids as long as we could afford, then rented a house on the other side of the village for a year. I visited with the kids most days and we played/worked in the garden whilst husband worked on the house. Husband is self-employed and just took on fewer jobs for a couple of years.

 

Is there anything you would have done differently?

Only initial paint choices which we’re now altering. We listened to the advice of others rather than going with our own instincts but it’s easily altered.

We’ve not lost the zeal for building and we’re still contemplating what the next project will be 🤔

 

You can find Elle on Instagram to see more of her incredible build.

 

barn door on pigsty barn before renovation

 

Inside of barn

 

Building your own home - putting scaffolding up.

 

Barn from the outside with flowers

 

Inside finished bathroom, bare brick wall with mirror and sink

 

Barn with small library, ladder and armchair

 

Living room with bare brick wall, beams and modern grey sofa

 

What Outbuildings Add Home Value?

Sometimes when you’re buying a house, there are other things to focus on than just the house itself.

Outbuildings can make for excellent storage and can actually add value to your home.

There are so many ways you can utilise outbuildings for your lifestyle. We’ve listed just a few types of outbuildings and how they can make your home more desirable.

 

Sheds

The classic shed is an essential for any house. Everyone needs somewhere to house their lawnmower, BBQ, spare garden chairs and gardening tools.

In the UK, we’re not blessed with lovely weather all year round so things have to go into storage to stop them from getting ruined. Sheds are normally a standard in the UK and will be a sought after storage solution for most home buyers.

 

Garages

Sheds, garages, what’s the difference? Garages are usually much bigger and might be better for housing things more securely. You can choose to keep your car in here, or use it for general storage.

Most home buyers like garages as they can be renovated into large kitchens, home offices or something else. The options for garage use is endless!

 

Farm building with a orange sunset behind it

Farm buildings and stables

Buying a farm is a dream for some and a nightmare for others. Farm life can be tough, but there are some truly stunning farmhouses out there. Farm buildings made from steel will be a must for farmers as a place to store large machinery.

If you’ve bought an ex-farm, and have an outbuilding that you can’t use, consider hiring it out to local farmers for their own belongings. This will bring you some extra income and make an unused space useful.

Stables are wonderful outbuildings that can be renovated into on-site cottages that you can hire out. Or, if you’re a budding horse enthusiast, you might consider setting up a livery yard to bring extra income in.

 

If you have the time, there are all sorts of things you can do to utilise outbuildings. Land is something that attracts lots of buyers as everyone wants stunning views and large family gardens. This is why outbuildings will increase the desirability of your home as well as its ability to sell quickly.