The popularity of open-plan spaces with extensive glazing is constantly on the up. It’s no surprise that the desire for light-filled designs that maximise the room available is relatable for a lot of self-builders. For many of us, such schemes reflect our lifestyle and what we want from a bespoke home. After all, most people choose to go down the self-build route so that they can create a home that’s perfect for their needs.
While interest in contemporary projects is common, the sort of budget required to build something along the lines of the Watsons’ home, found below, is not. That’s why we’ve created a list representing what’s achievable at a whole range of price points – from under £100,000 all the way up to almost £2m.
A thoughtful design, some self-build determination and a hand from friends and family can produce a contemporary home on a shoestring. Joshua Penk managed to avoid the use of scaffolding, amongst countless other money saving measures, to build this affordable woodland eco home.
Build cost: £81,800
Getting the most from a 63m2 footprint requires design ingenuity and clear communication between architect and client. Thankfully Makar Construction were on hand to help Barbara Manson realise her retirement self-build dream. The home is a timber construction finished in a mixture of horizontal and vertical larch cladding, crowned with a sustainable living roof.
Build cost: £140,000
The unique looking Watershed makes inspired use of a cantilever to jut out over a nearby waterfall. Despite this striking design feature, the project came in at £1,424 per m2. Architects ATA Studio came up with clever money-saving solutions such as a pop-out fourth bedroom that keeps material costs to a minimum.
Build cost: £270,773
Architects Eilir Sheryn and Frederieke van Ellen’s new home is a striking contemporary design made all the more appealing by its simplicity and affordability. They stuck to a simple timber frame box shape, maximising interior space. The result is the kind of individual project that would be within reach of many aspiring self-builders.
Build cost: £325,000
The inspiration for the Smiths’ contemporary home was gleaned from an array of sources, including their memorable holidays to Scandinavia and Palm Springs in California, where Martin was particularly affected by sleek examples of ‘desert Modernism’. Their own interpretation is comprised of a steel frame, encased in floor-to-ceiling glass and iroko timber.
Build cost: £399,460
The Bakers snapped up a leafy plot in west London and built a treehouse inspired contemporary abode. The glazed ground floor drinks in the natural light, while the overhanging level above prevents overheating in summer. The house is formed of two angled, interconnecting wings, which come together at the double-height entrance hallway.
Build cost: £453,000
Prioritising high ceilings, big open rooms and natural light, Dan Hatfield capitalised on his coastal site. The project’s clean straight lines are contrasted by the green roof, planted with local species to reflect the surrounding cliff-tops. This huge build came in at an impressive £1,000 per m2, including a relatively small overspend of around 10%.
Build cost: £600,000
Natural, sustainable materials are a core part of the Gourlays’ house – from the locally sourced softwood timber frame, built stick-by-stick on site, to the 500 tonnes of stone gathered from the surrounding fields. This ethos tells in the end product, which, despite its bold lines, looks at home in its rural Scottish setting.
Build cost: £720,000
The Smiths’ desire for a fast, no-nonsense build led them to contact prefabricated timber frame expert Baufritz who organised almost the entire project. This meant that Lloyd and Jill could relax and enjoy the process without worrying about coordinating trades and ordering materials. The main house was constructed in just three days.
Build cost: £800,000
This impressive dwelling came from the Watsons’ desire for light, open spaces and a modern, streamlined look. The design is based around two wings of living accommodation, joined by a two-storey glass link. The roof is made from structurally insulated panels, which meant there were no trusses to get in the way. This allowed architects Sense of Space to create spectacular, capacious vaulted living zones.
Build cost: £1,900,000
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