Self Build Blog: Follow the Journey to a Bespoke Home in Graven Hill

How choosing a package home route to self building in Graven Hill is helping us create a dream house
by Marc & Laura Marsdale
28th June 2018

We’ve always been fascinated with the idea of putting down on a piece of paper how we want to live in a home and then watching as it comes to life.

To live in something we’ve had a hand in designing, rather than something that was made for and by someone else, feels like the ultimate way of creating order in our own lives.

The traditional process of building a home in the UK made it seem like a goal we were unlikely to fulfil. The effort of finding a plot and battling through planning, with all of the associated risks and unknowns, was not something we wanted to take on.

Graven Hill is a self and custom build development in Bicester
Plots are offered with foundations and connected to service

We both have busy jobs and, combined with a young (and growing) family, we were apprehensive about taking on such a big project alone. So the ‘plug and play’ concept of a package home route seemed like the perfect answer, smoothing the path and letting someone else take the strain, making it feel achievable.

We also liked the idea of dealing with one company from start to finish. From creating the initial designs, through to winning planning, liaising with Graven Hill and finally handing us the keys to our finished home, it seems far more efficient than trying to manage a little black book of architects, planners, site managers, plumbers and so on.

We’re familiar with Graven Hill as it’s close to the Cotswolds, an area we know and love. We were attracted to the kind of community Graven Hill will create, being made up of hopefully like-minded people who have decided to build their own home.

The masterplan looks well thought out and will have all of the basic infrastructure we need such as a primary school, as well as being an easy commute to our work in Marylebone.

Having missed out on the initial release of plots, we were looking at a few different sites in Phase 1b when, amazingly, the perfect plot from the initial phase came back on the market.

Situated on a quiet, rural lane, it is slightly larger than the others and looks out onto Graven Hill itself, an ancient woodland that will never be built on and is down a no-through road, so when all the building work is complete it will be secluded and peaceful.

Plots for self builders at Graven Hill come with foundations, drainage, substructure walls, ground floor slab and connected to utilities. We just had to find someone to design and build our home!

Read more: What are Package Homes and Kit Houses?

We had seen Facit Homes on Grand Designs a number of years ago and the unique process stuck in our minds. They use a revolutionary approach, which is also environmentally friendly, creating the entire home on a central 3D digital design model. Materials are then delivered to site in flat sheet form and cut from digital files on a CNC machine, in order to create each individual component.

The idea of a single company, who would take the project from start to finish and guide us through the whole journey, really appealed to us.

We get to be part of the design team but can then leave it to the professionals to crack on and build our house. It’s the best of both worlds.

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