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Digital Subscriptions > Build It > Aug 2017 > Garden state

Garden state

Graham and Betty Mc Nicol’s decision to downsize led them to self-build a Passivhaus bungalow on a site in their former garden

Having lived in a late Georgian villa for nearly 30 years, Graham and Betty McNicol decided it was the right time to downsize. While their ideas regarding the style of property they’d like to live in weren’t fixed, they didn’t want to move out of the catchment area of this picturesque pocket of rural Angus that they were so fond of. “We looked at various options, including buying a smaller place in the village or converting our stable outhouse into a dwelling,” says Graham. “But we decided to pursue the idea of building a new home in the little paddock attached to our manse.”

The couple approached local architects Colin Smith and Judith Wilson, whose work Graham was familiar with after judging the Angus Design Awards. “We invited them to bring forward proposals and it soon became clear that building in the paddock was the best option for us,” says Graham. “Our main priority was that the new structure wouldn’t conflict with the villa. We envisioned a single storey with spacious rooms, but we didn’t want it to feel like a rabbit hutch.”

In anticipation of the self-build, the McNicols arranged for a screen of semimature native trees (Scots pine, cedar and birch) to be planted between the Georgian manse and the site of the new house, as a means of creating greater privacy. The design of the dwelling – which was gradually emerging throughout 2013 and 2014 as a result of a close working collaboration between Graham and Betty and their chosen architects – also placed a premium on privacy.

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About Build It

The August edition of Build It magazine brings you all the inspiration & practical advice you need to complete your home building project on time and on budget, including: • A stunning self-build on a countryside plot (page 20) • 10 way to maximise light and space (page 62) • 7 lightweight cladding options (page 67) • Find out whether triple glazing makes sense (page 79) • How to rewire a period property (page 119) • Discover how to find land with real potential (page 123) … and more!