Self build blog: Nearly home!

Marc & Laura update us on their self build project at Graven Hill
by Marc & Laura Marsdale
29th April 2019

Having waited so long for the vision of our home to become a reality, everything is suddenly happening very quickly as we approach the final month of our build. We find ourselves rushing around trying to organise removals and nursery start dates for the children, while also factoring in site visits and trips to East London’s Roman Road to choose carpet for the upstairs!

The build itself is chugging along nicely and we now have a handover date of the 31st May, which is incredibly exciting. The charred black timber cladding is installed on the front upper level and the rear and it looks fantastic. We had a hiccup with the balustrade on the front balcony overlooking the ancient woodland on Graven Hill, which when it arrived from the manufacturer wasn’t quite up to the quality we had hoped for. Facit Homes arranged for it to be returned and made again and the new one is perfect, but it caused a minor delay with the Corten cladding on the lower half of the front of the house. Facit worked really quickly to catch up and things are now back on schedule, with the balcony decking arriving next week.

Inside it’s all systems go. We recently appointed a local carpenter who will be instrumental in designing and completing a number of key joinery needs, including coat storage and bench seating in the entry way, floating wood shelves in the kitchen area and under-stair storage on the ground floor that will be finished in blackboard paint, giving the girls a place to develop their artistic talents without jeopardising the painted walls! For the master dressing area, we’re keeping it simple with open Ikea PAX wardrobes, which Facit are going to install for us.

We’ve also found a landscape gardener to sort out the driveway, paths and garden, which has been a bit of a challenge because the back garden slopes away from the house. Working out how to configure the space to ensure we get the most out of it has been interesting, to say the least. In the end, we’ve decided to tier the garden, with a decked area adjacent to the bifold doors from the dining room, followed by an area paved with granite, a further lawned section with a fire pit and then finally a play-bark area for the girls.

The landscaping work won’t be completed until a few weeks after we’ve moved in, but it will be ready to use in time for the good weather and we feel a lot better knowing we have a plan to create the kind of outdoor space we, as city dwellers, have wanted.

It’s lovely to be able to walk around the house now and get a sense of the scale of the rooms and understand how the space flows, where the light pours in and be confident making decisions about furniture and colours. The TV snug feels much bigger than we anticipated, so we’ve decided to paint it dark blue and use our existing three-seater sofa, which means ordering a new one for the living room. We’ve also ordered a very distinctive, bespoke 3m long Ash table from a manufacturer in Surrey, which will fill the large dining space and give us plenty of room for entertaining.

And finally, it’s been great to get to know some of our neighbours over the last few weeks, as we’ve been up on site more frequently and also engaging with the Graven Hill Self Builders Facebook group for people who are in the process of building. We all have one big thing in common, but we’ve all been on very different journeys, which makes for some interesting conversation!

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