(Joyce) #1

12 homebuilding.co.uk


sIze400m^2 (plus72m^2 pool house)
buILd tImeTwoyears
buILd cost£547,
estImatedVaLue £1million


t’s one of the biggest decisions facing any
self-builder: do you renovate an ugly or badly
extended property that’s on a site you like, or do
you demolish it and start again? That was exactly the
dilemma facing Peter and Pauline Williams, who’d
been plot hunting for years before finding their
perfect spot in north Shropshire.
“I found this house and I immediately loved the
position,” remembers Peter, who was already an
experienced renovator. “The minute I came here I
thought: this is it! However, Pauline hated it.”
No wonder: the 1960s flat-roofed, poorly
insulated house had been badly extended and
remodelled — tellingly, the kitchen had ended up in
the middle of the house with the window openingup
to a sunroom. Peter’s original plan was to renovate
the property and add vaulted oak frame ceilings,
but builder friends advised knocking it down and
building new; a view echoed by Welsh Oak Frame’s
MD Paul Edmunds when he came to visit. Cost was
one factor, with the renovation bill looking set to
outstrip that for a self-build. VAT was another (self-
builders can claim back VAT; renovators cannot).
Having made the decision to build a new home,
Peter and Pauline could take a fresh look at their
requirements. “We knew we wanted an oak frame
house, but not a traditional cottage,” says Peter. “At

the back we wanted an open-plan area, with lots
of glass, a full-height atrium and a ‘glazed-style’
roof, with a more enclosed feel at the front of the
house.” The couple were also keen to incorporate
eco technologies, including solar PV, a mechanical
ventilation with heat recovery system and rainwater
harvesting. They presented their wishlist to Welsh
Oak Frame. “They took the brief and Emyr – Welsh
Oak Frame’s design director – created what I
couldn’t,” says Peter. “It was perfect. Everything I
had asked for was there.”
The oak frame specialist drew up the designs
for the home, which sped through planning —
helped by the fact that the existing property had no
architectural merit and the new, high-end, energy
efficient oak frame house would be sitting on exactly
the same footprint as the original. “It went through
in about four weeks,” remembers Peter. “The
planning officer [from Shropshire County Council]
came out, looked at it and agreed that it would be

contemporary oak frame
The front elevation is a fairly simple design that
gives little away of its oak-beamed character,
although a large catslide porch with oak frame posts
hints at the beams and posts within. The ground