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New beginnings

Harriet and Rob Graham’s plans to renovate an old stone cottage unexpectedly became the chance for a completely new home

Harriet and Rob Graham moved to the Scottish Borders in 1999 and used to ride past a derelict cottage most days while out on their horses. They had always admired the lone building, with its panoramic views across to the Cheviot Hills and the scattering of farmhouses in the distance. But they never imagined they’d end up renovating the cottage for themselves. “It struck us as such a lovely spot; a really bright location, even in mid-winter when it catches the low sun.

However, the idea of living here was a pipe dream for a long time,” says Rob. “Our current home was only a five-minute walk away and we were happy there; we had no intentions of moving.”

Futher down the line, the people who owned the old building got planning permission to renovate with the intention of doing the work themselves. However, a few years later they told their neighbours, the Grahams, their circumstances had changed. “We’re a close community, so they knew we loved the spot,” says Harriet. “In October 2010 we came to a private arrangement to buy the cottage and 12 acres of land for our horses. As their planning consent was close to expiring, we decided to make a start on our own application with the aim of moving in before the following winter.”

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June 2017
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About Build It

The June edition of Build It magazine is packed full of inspiration and advice for your self build, renovation or extension project - including: • An amazing oak frame self build (page 20) • Total makeover of a 1960s house (page 39) • How to self build on a budget (page 64) • Can solar hot water panels save you money? (page 71) • Design details: exposed beams (page 74) • Guide to designing the perfect barn conversion (page 90) • Assessing a building plot's potential (page 100) … and more!