Print out your own dream home
standard pre-fab homes of the post-war period.
But there is an increasing number of companies that allow you to dream up a brand new home to your exact specifications, which is then cut out by a computer and assembled in a matter of weeks with the precision of a Swiss watch. Anya and Robin Nuttall turned to Facit Homes to build a roomy house with a pool in the basement and more room for their growing family.
Moving entailed a hefty stamp duty bill, so they had initially planned just to add an extension, before realising they could create something really special by knocking down their home in Highgate, north London, and building on the land. It had the added bonus of being free from VAT, as the house was built from scratch rather than refurbished. As fans of shows such as Grand Designs it had been a “theoretical dream for years” for Anya, a consultant at a nearby hospital, and Robin, a management consultant. “We don’t do any DIY; we barely even change light bulbs most of the time,” says Anya.
After talking through ideas, Facit came up with a 3D model of their dream home: a big modern house with Edwardian hints. The architect added in modern touches, such as a new take on bay windows, so it could better blend into the conservation area it sits in, and more easily win planning permission.
Unusually, the company takes the project through the design stage and then builds it, guaranteeing its cost as well, meaning no out-of-control budgets. “Having one company that sees it through to completion means the product at the end is how it is meant to be, rather than an interpretation of it,” says Rhys Denbigh, head of new business at Facit. After the Nuttalls’ project sailed through planning, work started on digging out the basement. When it was ready, Facit brought its patented mini- factory to the house, setting up its version of a large printer in the garden that would cut wood into sections, each one labelled with its location on the model.
These were then slotted together to make the skeleton and the walls of the house, a process that Anya compares to putting together a house made of Lego.
Anya and Robin’s Highgate home, built in weeks by a portable machine by Facit, has open-plan rooms and huge amounts of living space