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Steps to success

First-time self-builders John Bearman and Stephanie Rogers faced a steep learning curve on this project, but meticulous research has helped them to realise an ambitious three-storey home that beautifully blends traditional and contemporary features

The original house


When an outdated detached property on an attractive residential street came on the market, Stephanie Rogers and John Bearman decided to take a look. It was not really what they had in mind – the couple’s ideal was a classic period house they could refurbish and turn into a well-appointed family home. “We’d originally been looking at period properties and we were aiming for a solid, highspec house with interesting features, plenty of light and a traditional, characterful feel,” says Stephanie. But after two years of fruitless searching, they were ready to consider other options.

They eventually found a three-bedroom, 1930s dwelling with a large rear garden – but it offered a very different type of opportunity. “We were fine with the idea of tackling a major renovation project, but our architect suggested it would be more cost-effective to demolish this house and start again,” says Stephanie, “There was nothing else on the market that inspired us, so we went for it.”

Design developments

As long-term renters, John and Stephanie had no construction experience whatsoever. “In my mind, a new-build house equated to square, boxy rooms and as many ensuite bathrooms as you could squeeze in, but we didn’t want that,” says Stephanie. The couple quickly realised, however, that knocking down the property and starting again would give them a blank canvas on which to create a striking and highly individual bespoke home.


NAMES John Bearman & Stephanie Rogers

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About Build It

Get your self-build or renovation project started with advice & inspiration from Build It magazine. Here's what to expect in the January issue: • How the Rogers built an Arts & Crafts-style modern home • The latest on smart home technology • Are woodburning stoves eco friendly? • Heating options for renovations • Avoiding grand designs disasters • Plot Watch: Did they get planning consent? ...and much more!