If I’ve learnt anything over the years, it’s that the best lessons are drawn from personal experience – so this month I thought I’d share the highs and lows of my own self build project with you; including what went right, which bits didn’t, and the elements I would change if I were to do it all over again.
I have assisted a fairly hefty number of self builders over the years, but I’ve only ever tackled one scheme for myself. I’m often asked why I’ve not done it again and my answer is the same each time.
Along with my wife, Alison, our motivation was to build the perfect family home and stay there, having lived in more than 10 different Services’ family houses in my time with the RAF. We moved in to a new place every two years and while they were all perfectly functional, none of them were ever a home, and there’s only so much magnolia paint you can take. But our self build was a keeper.
Given the amount of work that went into designing and constructing it, we’re happy that there are plenty of great things about the home we built. Here are the top 10 things we love:
Here’s the bottom 10 – the bits that weren’t so good, we’ve since changed or that I might have done differently had I known the implications:
So would we do it again? Too right we would, but the thing is, we don’t need to because we don’t want to move from our lovely home. Yes, it cost us everything we had, but we soon got back on an even keel and we now have the luxury of being mortgage-free because of that saving we made over market value – there was so much less to pay off.
There is something quite primeval about building your own home – outside of the big life events like marriage and children, I can think of nothing else I have done that matches the emotional and financial benefit of self building.
It is still the road less travelled, but it’s getting much easier to do, especially now that we have government support in the form of Right To Build legislation, and the pros definitely outweigh the cons.