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Digital Subscriptions > Build It > May 2019 > A family affair

A family affair

Suzie and Andy Scholes have self built a bold and sustainable new property in the heart of the Surrey countryside thanks to the help of a newly qualified civil engineer – their son Tom

Suzie and Andy Scholes wanted a house that suited how they lived as a family. And, appropriately, self building their remarkable property was a joint effort from various family members – even with Andy spending much of the project 6,000 miles away in Dubai. Designing large buildings had been Andy’s work for decades, and the couple were fed up of living in an inefficient home.

“I have a passion for low-energy properties and architecture, and I’d always wanted to construct my own house,” he says. “Our previous homes have had a compromise some way, and to build our own home was one way of finding somewhere that suits how we live as a family. It was a long-held ambition – if we could find right plot.”

An internet find

In the end, locating the perfect patch of land came down to pure luck. It was important to the couple to find a project that would make the most of its surroundings, and Suzie and Andy were eager to create a home that allowed them to feel a part of the countryside. They sold their old house and, with Andy working in Dubai, Suzie turned to property website Rightmove to find something to invest in. “I didn’t find the tired retirement dwelling that we were expecting, but the plot I came across – two acres in the middle of Surrey – was an instant yes,” she says. The land they purchased had a rundown stable block on it, and was positioned within an area of outstanding natural beauty. Their starting point was that they wanted a low-energy, sustainable home; it also needed to sit on the same footprint as the existing structure in order to meet planning restrictions in the protected countryside location. Maximising rural views was also key: “We wanted an inside-outside house with lots of glazing,” says Andy. “Then, once we knew the building’s shape, the layout flowed from there.”

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About Build It

Build It is Britain’s longest running self build magazine. Each issue is packed full of inspirational and informative readers’ homes, as well as expert advice on issues from budgets and planning to project management and design. This month: - Beginners guide to extensions - Energy efficient masonry - Renovating a Victorian house - How to maximise your self build budget - Dealing with planning conditions