While it may be fun to read about big-budget dream homes with designer features, the majority of those undertaking self-build projects will have more modest targets. That’s why we like to share the sort of schemes that show what can be achieved on a fairly typical budget. In fact, the challenge of limited funding often adds to the inspirational nature of a self-build home, requiring clever, wallet-friendly design solutions.
Here are 12 such projects, all built for a maximum of £200,000 – many of them for much less. Some of you are no doubt keen to roll up your own sleeves – like Damian Helliwell, whose straw bale home is testament to what can be achieved with just £60k, a great eye for design and true self-build grit.
Others seek to get on the first rung of the housing ladder. Jennifer Hope designed a small timber frame home that led to her founding her own company aimed at those looking for small, affordable properties.
Read on to discover more about these inspirational examples and 12 more besides.
Affordable Self-Build Home
The Walters worked with their architect to design a modest dormer bungalow, built in brick-clad timber frame. They gave their all when it came to managing the project and spent countless hours researching Building Regulations and product specifications online – making every penny count.
Build cost: £169,711
Eco House on a Budget
Joshua Penk delayed going to university to design and build his award-winning eco home. The result is a striking single storey, two bedroom property built in a curve, using a post and beam system with cedar cladding and a spectacular glazed south elevation. He completed the project at a cost of just £372 per m2.
Build cost: £81,800
Small Sustainable Self-Build
As she was approaching retirement, Barbara Manson decided she wanted a smaller house but more land, so she could grow vegetables and keep hens. She enlisted the help of an architect renowned for his off-grid eco-friendly homes, to build her a contemporary dwelling that would keep her mortgage free.
Build cost: £140,000
Low-Cost Traditional Fisherman’s Cottage
Greig and Kathleen Munro, who work together at an architectural practice, were committed to using their expertise to prove that a small budget doesn’t prevent excellence. Their compact cottage combines a nautical theme with Scandinavian minimalism, resulting in a home that maximises space through illumination and intelligent storage.
Build cost: £149,800
Amazing Budget Self-Build Home
Folk musician Damian Helliwell was offered the unique opportunity to return to the Isle of Eigg, as part of a scheme providing plots to ex-residents. He was determined to use a straw bale structural system, despite never having seen a house completed with this method, and do most of the work himself – keeping to a tiny budget.
Build cost: £59,200
The Wee House
Jennifer Hope made the most of her family’s house building pedigree when it came to finding a solution to the lack of affordable homes in the area. Inspired by Scottish estate-style homes (the sort a gamekeeper might live in) they designed a modest home that was perfect for Jennifer’s needs and could be delivered on the back of a single lorry.
Build cost: £64,660
Budget Family Home
Thanks to her assured project management and the help of her sons, Lynda Williams was able to build a charming three bedroom home. Value engineering means the house features a hidden softwood timber frame, with oak used for the exposed trusses to add drama. This gives the house a premium feel that belies a budget of just £100,000 – made possible through design choices that reduced labour and material costs.
Build cost: £105,000
Low Cost Self-Build Home
After discovering that taking out a grass bank would allow them to build an end of terrace home next door to their current dwelling, the Glovers leapt at the chance to provide more space for their growing family. In doing so, they proved that you don’t need deep pockets or trade experience to achieve a high-quality final finish.
Build cost: £108,250
Model Kit Home
As a local councillor, Bryan Stuart was frustrated by his constituents being priced out of the housing market. His striking new home is a prototype for affordable timber kit houses and features a novel use of Scots pine, which has been heat-treated to achieve the durable, low maintenance qualities of a hardwood at a fraction of the cost.
Build cost: £150,000
Small Island Self-Build
While a per m2 cost of £3,208 might not scream value, the challenging yet enviable Henley-on-Thames island location of Peter and Marsha Myers’s New England style home mean their budget was well spent. A significant portion of their total spend went into surveys, professional fees and engineered foundations to deal with the ground water conditions. This stunning riverside abode, along with its private mooring, now serves as the perfect spot to relax.
Build cost: £170,000
Knock Down & Rebuild in Cornwall
Despite numerous planning setbacks and having to partly clad their new property in expensive granite, the Collins successfully self built a charming modern cottage for just £120,000. Natural materials such as slate and oak give the home a quality finish, while underfloor heating throughout keeps the solid surfaces feeling cosy.
Build cost: £120,000
Characterful Low Cost Self-Build Home
Under Shropshire council’s ‘build your own’ initiative, Hannah Jones & Theo Hodnett were able to complete a Build It Award winning timber frame home. As a carpenter, Theo used his skills to keep labour costs to a minimum and produce a characterful finish, using oak for the non-structural beams, flooring, skirting and doors.
Build cost: £122,500