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Design ideas for an awkward

Architect Opinder Liddar looks at some common plot headaches and suggests innovative ways they can be overcome
This site in the New Forest is formed of two drastically different land levels, which informed the contemporary design the team at Paul Cashin Architects put together. The elevated part of the structure houses three bedrooms, and makes the most of the countryside views. The lower area features an open-plan living zone and kitchen with a study and loft area upstairs


With suitable land for self builds still pretty scarce, easy-to-develop sites are becoming rarer. As a result, a growing number of people are broadening their searches to encompass options that are less than ideal, or sometimes inherently awkward. But what defines a tricky plot? There are plenty of influences – both inside and outside the boundaries of a site – that could dissuade you from purchasing it. However, rather than walking away from such opportunities, it may be worth thinking twice and considering whether these apparently less-than-ideal plots could be turned to your advantage.

While an awkward site may introduce some difficulty into the process, it’s worth bearing in mind that the extra complexities associated with constructing a new house could scare away traditional developers. Problematic plots can also be more affordable, with fewer people competing to buy them. When I’m presented with a tricky piece of land, I see it as a design opportunity – a chance to create a unique home and get the best from what’s there. In many cases the results are inspiring, as a bit more effort can create buildings that respond positively to the challenge.

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About Build It

The July edition of Build It magazine brings you a wealth of information to help make a success of your self build, renovation, extension or conversion project – including: • A modern eco home built for just £77,000 (page 44) • Top flooring options (page 65) • Solar PV & battery storage (page 68) • Sliding doors vs bifolds (page 73) • 10 top tips for self builders (page 101) • Design ideas for awkward plots (page 110) … and more!