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Digital Subscriptions > Build It > April 2017 > Perfect Package

Perfect Package

A developer-owned plot on the Scottish Borders provided the ideal self build opportunity for Simon and Alison Watkins, who had free rein to design a bespoke home they adore

When Simon Watkins took a new job at a hospital in Jedburgh, Scotland, it proved to be the catalyst for He and his wife Alison’s decision to self build. For the first 18 months Simon lived in Jedburgh alone, commuting back to the family home in Norfolk whenever he could. Alison needed to stay put until the couple’s youngest son finished his A Levels. “It was stressful living apart, but we knew we liked this area as we’d been on a hill-walking holiday here in 2006,” says Simon. “We love the outdoors and I wanted to join the mountain rescue team. I rented a flat and then later a house when Alison joined me here in January 2010.”

When Alison moved to Jedburgh permanently, the couple began searching for a suitable property or piece of land that they could purchase. Before long they realised that the likelihood of finding an existing dwelling that ticked all the boxes was fairly slim. “We were either uninspired by the architecture, or liked a house but knew it would be cold and expensive to heat,” says Alison. “We then made a firm decision to narrow down our hunt by focusing on plots alone.”

Golden opportunity

Again, the Watkinses struggled to find anything that was suitable, and discovered that many of the most promising pieces of land had already been snapped up by developers. However, in the end, this was exactly how Simon and Alison struck gold.

The house is clad in local stone and natural slate to give it a more traditional feel
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About Build It

The April edition of Build It magazine brings you a wealth of information to help make a success of your self build, renovation, extension or conversion project – including: • A stunning oak frame lodge in a woodland setting (page 22) • How to build a healthy home (page 58) • Upgrading your home's insulation (page 68) • Dealing with planning rejections (page 111) • How to get realistic quotes (page 115) … and more!