Stylish, Modern Home Built for £170k

Despite the overgrown state of the space at the end of the garden of the house he had bought to renovate, architect Tom Allen wasn’t fazed.

“Although we bought the house with a view to build at the end of the garden, Plan B was to simply extend the existing house.”

DIY Tips

Want to add a personal touch to your home? Then get creative to add style that’s one of a kind to your home. Patchwork, knitting and crochet can all be used to add chic soft furnishings and accessories to your home, from cushions to throws and more. If you are new to crafting there’s lots of advice available online including helpful craft tutorials. Also take a make do and mend approach to upcycling existing pieces in your home with paint, decoupage or fabric.


Having already extended and renovated the house that stood on the site, Tom and Natalie turned their attention to space at the end of the garden for a self build. “The design for the new house meant that both the new and old houses would both have 10m long gardens,” he explains.

Electrical Tip

“Although at first glance lighting, sockets and off-peak heating in France may all appear familiar, closer investigation will reveal that the installation methods are different to those employed in the UK”

Excerpt From: Thomas Malcolm. “Electricity in your French house.” iBooks.


Project Notes

  • Homeowners: Tom Allen and Natalie Scroggie
  • Project: Contemporary self-build
  • Size: 120m²
  • Build time: Aug ’16 – Aug ’17
  • Build cost: £170,000
  • Value: Approx. £500,000

Architect Tom came up with an asymmetric design that would both overcome issues raised by the close proximity of the neighbouring houses as well as making the most of the compact nature of the site.

Keen to have the same floor area upstairs and downstairs, the new building is two storey at the front, with the roof sloping down at the rear where the house becomes single storey — a design feature created in order to keep the roofline away from that of the neighbours.

“It was tight to squeeze in everything we wanted,” says Tom. “We had to maximise every inch and people are really surprised that downstairs is only 60m² — it feels much bigger.”

To ensure the upstairs spaces were as big as the ground floor, and with only single storey spaces at the rear of the house, a cantilevered first floor extends out to the side of the building.

The ground floor space is largely occupied by an open plan space incorporating the kitchen, dining and living areas. The industrial-inspired space is separated from the snug by a double-sided fireplace, containing the woodburner.

Keen to keep the internal space flexible, Tom and Nat have included a huge sliding door to close off or open the snug up as the mood takes them.

This flexible approach continues in the entrance hall. This relatively large space features an oversized door so it can become an extension of the living space if needed.

On the first floor, the four double bedrooms all have vaulted ceilings to increase the sense of space, whilst roof timbers have been left exposed. “This meant there was no need to plaster between the rafters,” explains Tom. “It also cut down on labour as there was less plastering — which obviously reduced costs too.”

Tom did a huge amount of DIY. “I wanted to be on site everyday,” he says. “I had renovated in the past, but a project like this is mentally and physically tiring. It can be lonely managing a project — everyone constantly wants decisions from you. Luckily we had a good team of trades.”

From designing the steel and timber staircase to making his own light fittings and furniture, Tom was as hands on as he could be. This included second fix plumbing and joinery and fitting the first floor deck.

Build costs came in at £170,000. “It is a low build cost,” says Tom. “Paying other people to do it would easily have added around £30,000 – £40,000.”

“This is my first new build — we absolutely love it,” says Tom. “Every day we benefit from the thought we put into each decision.”

See the original article here

Quick tip

Paint effects

Try out different paint effects to give your home a new look, try rag rolling, stippling or marbling. If you’re handy with a paint brush and eager to let your inner artist out, then consider painting a trompe l’oeil effect on a wall. Remember you could simply project an image onto a wall and paint around it – you don’t need to be a great artist to have a go at this. So get your paint brushes out and get creative.


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“If you elect to have off-peak (heures creuses) electricity, then EDF will provide you with wiring controlled by their equipment to switch your off-peak system on and off. The EDF off-peak equipment is usually a relay located beside their meter and fusegear. This relay is meant for the control circuit functions of your contactor (contacteur) or off-peak relay (jour/nuit) only. It must not be used to directly control equipment. The EDF relay is timed to operate in the usual manner at the predetermined off-peak times”

Excerpt From: Thomas Malcolm. “Electricity in your French house.” iBooks.


We are a new website, we are still growing our content, we want everyone that is renovating in France to help us feature what we all wanted to know when we all started, contact us with all your experience and tips, we live just south of Celles Sur Belle, in Deux Servre, 79, and are just about to start out on our next renovation, every job we start on, every problem, product or skill we need to learn about i will try and find some useful information on the internet and share it with you, yes I could do this by sharing it on facebook, but the problem is it just helps facebook and disappears down the timeline, here links and articles will be searchable and here permanently for you to book mark and refer to, so watch this space … and if you have links and articles that have helped you let us know !!1

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