Having always dreamt of building their own home, Andrew and Toni Leese decided the time was right to search for a plot following 16 years of living in a detached estate house. The couple found an old police station on Rightmove thatwas being sold as a development plot for two houses.
“Originally we wanted to build a Georgian-style farmhouse but, given the site’s Conservation Area status, the planners dictated we had to opt for a Cotswold stone property,” says Andrew.
From the start, Andrew and Toni made a scrapbook of the things they wanted, including an open-plan kitchen, a dressing room, space for when family visit and a separate living room. The couple worked with Potton to create a design and, despite the sensitive location, the couple decided against seeking pre-app advice.
“We felt that planning is too subjective and based on individual opinion,” said Andrew. “Instead, we submitted an application for our original plan for a Georgian farmhouse and had the planners visit the site so we could explain our ideas. They said no to this, in preference to a Cotswold cottage with gables to the front.
Andrew and Toni had never built a house before and both work full time, so they surrounded themselves with a reliable build team. “We were on site every day after work to inspect progress. As we were taking on some of the work ourselves, this helped us engage more with the project too,” says Andrew.
The end result is a Cotswold stone home which is fitting for its location, with the internal fixtures and fittings all sourced from local suppliers. “That was important to us,” says Toni.
“It was a really good experience”, says Andrew. “There’s nothing that would put me off doing it again and equally there’s nothing we’d change.”