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Lessons from a real self-build

What’s it really like to create your own home – and are there ever any regrets? Mike Hardwick shares his personal experiences, good and bad (and yes, the good definitely outweighs the bad)
Above left: Mike took a hands-on approach to running his project – and has since become a leading self-build expert

If I’ve learnt anything over the years, it’s that the best lessons are drawn from personal experience – so this month I thought I’d share the highs and lows of my own selfbuild project with you; including what went right, which bits didn’t, and the elements I would change if I were to do it all over again.

I have assisted a fairly hefty number of self-builders over the years, but I’ve only ever tackled one scheme for myself. I’m often asked why I’ve not done it again and my answer is the same each time. Along with my wife, Alison, our motivation was to build the perfect family home and stay there, having lived in more than 10 different Services’ family houses in my time with the RAF. We moved in to a new place every two years and while they were all perfectly functional, none of them were ever a home, and there’s only so much magnolia paint you can take. But our self-build was a keeper

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February 2018
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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!