(Joyce) #1

floor exterior is clad with a smooth render, while the
upper storey features stained vertically laid timbers,
topped with natural Spanish slates.
At the rear, the character of the house starts to
reveal itself, with a central double-height atrium and
bays with hipped roofs that create distinct zones for
the kitchen, dining and living areas. The complexity
of the roof meant that it was partly prefabricated,
and then finished on site using traditional cut roof
techniques. “We could have used SIPs [structural
insulated panels] but this was a more cost-effective
route,” says Emyr Davies, design director at Welsh
Oak Frame.
The other distinctive feature is the unusually deep
floorplan — with its square form, it’s an efficient
way to make the most of the space (both in terms of
footprint and cost), but this design can sometimes
mean the centre of the house lacks natural light. The
central atrium at the rear certainly helps, as does a
glass floor inset into the landing and a large oak-
framed glazed roof above — the result is that natural
light floods right through the home to the ground
floor hallway.

Project planning
Originally, Peter had wanted to project manage
the build himself. “But after hearing what all the
stages of the build entailed, I knew it was a huge
ask for someone with no experience to do,” he says.
“However, I still wanted to be part of it. I talked it
through with a good friend of mine, who is a builder,
and who I wanted to work on the project.”
Between them they agreed that the builder friend
would take on the project management, but keep
Peter involved. “As he was going to be on site
throughout the build, this worked extremely well,
especially as I was away at work often and could
only communicate via the internet,” says Peter.
The other assets on the project were Pauline, who
made all the interior design decisions, and, Welsh
Oak Frame who erected the oak frame, which is so
integral to the home’s character.
Not all was plain sailing, though — top of the
‘stress list’ was the fact that the council insisted that,
because of minor discrepancies in the paperwork,
the couple had to pay the full £18,000 Community
Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charge that is normally
exempt for self-builders. “I wasn’t able to fight

the oak frame helps
to zone the large open
plan kitchen/dining/
living space, creating
visual distinctions
the windows and doors
are from Valdi.