Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

David and Heather Bur­ton built a four-bed­room de­tached home, near How­den.

They spent a year search­ing for the ideal lo­ca­tion be­fore find­ing a farm or­chard for sale in a nearby vil­lage.

David and Heather wanted a home which would be light and spa­cious, but they also liked the bal­anced pro­por­tions and square frontage of a tra­di­tional Ge­or­gian-style house.

“Our ar­chi­tect sug­gested that we write a list of ev­ery­thing we wanted and didn’t want in a home, so he could draw up plans based on that,” says Heather. “We par­tic­u­larly wanted a large, open hall­way. We do a lot of en­ter­tain­ing and there’s noth­ing worse than ev­ery­one be­ing squashed into a nar­row hall when they ar­rive. We also liked the vis­ual im­pact that a wide hall cre­ates.

“Our ar­chi­tect in­sisted it would be a waste of valu­able space and tried to per­suade us to have a more tra­di­tional hall­way. We dug our heels in – and we’re very glad we did. It’s the busiest room in the house.”

The Bur­tons put the build out to ten­der and only two peo­ple re­sponded. They hit it off straight away with builder An­thony Townend of Brad­ston Homes in Carl­ton, near Selby, who saw the project through from start to fin­ish.

“Tony was very flex­i­ble and will­ing to go the ex­tra mile to make sure we ended up with the home we wanted,” says David.

“We also took his ad­vice and did a lot of the ground work our­selves, spend­ing week­end af­ter week­end look­ing at bricks, roof tiles, door han­dles, kitchen fit­tings – ev­ery­thing you can think of – so that when he asked us what colour bricks we wanted, or which style fit­tings to use, we had a pretty good idea. It saved a lot of time.”

The only set­back was the weather. “From the moment they started dig­ging the foun­da­tions, the heav­ens opened and it didn’t stop rain­ing for weeks,” says David. “The wa­ter was so deep it had to be pumped out of the foot­ings and the JCB got stuck in the mud.”

The cou­ple kept a close eye on the project, vis­it­ing the site ev­ery day and the hard work was worth it. They now have a stun­ning Ge­or­gian-style home.

Heather says: “There were times when we won­dered whether we were do­ing the right thing. But it was worth it. We de­signed a house to suit our own taste, cir­cum­stances and life­style.”

Heather’s ad­vice:

“Self-build­ing can be very stress­ful be­cause it’s so time­con­sum­ing and there are so many de­ci­sions to make.

“Do plenty of re­search and plan­ning be­fore you start. Have very clear ideas about the house you want to build – how you want it to func­tion, what style you want in­side and out, how much money you have to spend. Bud­gets of­ten run away with you so be pre­pared to com­pro­mise. Money in­vested in the fab­ric of the build­ing is money well-spent, so don’t cut cor­ners on the qual­ity of the build.

“It’s worth spend­ing time sourc­ing ma­te­ri­als on the in­ter­net and shop­ping around for com­pet­i­tive prices. Like­wise with the builder.

“It’s a good idea to go on rec­om­men­da­tion as a flex­i­ble, re­li­able builder is worth their weight in gold.

“If you don’t have time to be on site ev­ery day or to source the ma­te­ri­als your­self, bud­get for a project man­ager who will keep the build on track and within bud­get.”

GROUND WORK: The four-bed­room home near How­den.

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