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Second time lucky

Rob and Jo Glew beat the odds and converted their oak frame barn into a glorious family home

WORDS JANE CRITTENDEN PHOTOS ALISTAIR NICHOLLS

There’s plenty of ways to find the perfect self-build plot. For Rob and Jo Glew, the land and outbuildings that came with the house they bought in 1998 appeared to hold a host of possibilities. However, the site’s position within an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) made the prospect of gaining planning approval for a new home seem unlikely at best.

Yet, fast forward 20 years and the couple are living in their newly-converted barn, on the same patch of land. “We didn’t buy the old worker’s cottage with the intention of creating our own dwelling,” says Rob. “Our move tied in with my new job in London. The location was great and we liked the property, the woodlands, the paddock and the views that came with it.”

Initial plans

Soon after moving in, the couple extended the cottage to etablish extra living space for their family of five. But a few years later, Rob was itching to start another project. He asked an oak frame provider to work up a design for a house situated in the middle of the paddock. “My father created his own home, so the idea had been simmering for a while,” says Rob. “But the council flatly said no, and that they couldn’t ever foresee a new house being approved in an AONB.”

Rob accepted the decision and instead turned his attention to the dilapidated outbuildings on the plot. Another idea began to take shape, which Rob discussed with friend and local architect, Joanna Saady from Ecotecture. She introduced Rob to planning consultant Peter Rainer from DMH Stallard. “I asked for Peter’s advice about replacing the outbuildings with an oak frame barn. He thought I wouldn’t have a problem if the structure was for agricultural use, but not residential,” says Rob.

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About Build It

The November edition of Build It magazine brings you all the inspiration & practical advice you need to complete your home building project on time and on budget, including: • A self-built first home for just £47,000 (page 48) • Why build with oak? (page 64) • Rainwater goods: repair or replace? (page 67) • 5 renovation tips for a healthy home (page 81) • Is open plan living right for you (page 103) • Expert guide to lighting and electrics (page 112) … and more!