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The waiting game

It took 18 years for Tracey and Stephen Stewart to find the ideal Oxfordshire plot for their self-build. Now, despite a few bumps in the road, they’ve created a unique home with real wow factor
The decking was supplied by EcoDek, while Lamburn Geekie arranged the hard landscaping

Planning a self-build was the furthest thing from Tracey and Stephen Stewart’s minds when they bought a property in High Wycombe back in 1997. Soon after moving in, however, they realised that while the location was great, they really weren’t in love with the house itself. “We have always enjoyed inviting friends over for lunches and dinners, but the place wasn’t practical for socialising,” says Tracey. “We looked at extending or renovating, but it was a non-starter.”

The couple began to tentatively consider taking on a self-build, and occasionally searched for land to develop. “We would look online and, if we saw a site with potential, visit it. But it was a dream more than an imperative,” says Stephen. Describing their current house as an ill-fitting suit, Tracey adds: “There was no hurry as where we were living was habitable, it just wasn’t very comfortable.”

The next step

It was another 15 years before the couple started to become more serious about self-build – their interest piqued by a bungalow that came onto the market in Moulsford, Oxfordshire. they went to visit it on the same day it went on sale. “The owner had passed away and the property was being sold by her daughter and son-in-law, who happened to be on site when we called,” explains Tracey.

FACT FILE

NAMES Stephen & Tracey Stewart

OCCUPATIONS Manager & admin assistant

LOCATION Oxfordshire

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About Build It

Make 2018 your year to self-build with Build It's latest advice and inspiration-packed edition! This month's issue includes: - 32 must-read tips for your project - Expert guide to planning success - The secret to a characterful renovation - How to buy the right bricks - Design ideas: windows & glazing - Reinstating an old fireplace ...and more!