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Best of both worlds

Jayne and Alistair Lewis’s self-build project has resulted in a two-in-one home that complements its rural setting

Creating their own home had always a goal for Alistair and Jayne Lewis, who had lived in South Lanarkshire for 30 years before they tracked down the perfect plot. Instantly, they knew it would be the ideal spot to erect the traditional dwelling they envisioned. “We liked the idea of a building that looked like it had been there for a long time,” says Jayne.

But the couple’s journey to purchasing this patch of land wasn’t as straightforward as they had hoped. “We looked at the site when it first came onto the market, but there was an electricity cable running across it. This put us off initially, as we were told that it would cost over £40,000 to have it put underground,” says Jayne.

“At this stage, we decided not to take things any further.” However, it transpired that the couple knew the vendor who was selling the land. “They looked into the whole situation for us and couldn’t find any evidence as to why the cable was actually there in the first place,” says Jayne. “As the electricity board couldn’t find the original permissions, they put it underground free of charge.”

The land encompassed a building plot with outline planning consent to erect a house, along with a five-acre pasture. “You could buy these separately or together, so we purchased both – primarily to protect our views,” says Jayne. A pair of local Highland cows that had been looking for grazing land are the field’s current residents.

First steps

In terms of design, the project took off when the couple met architect Allan Corfield at a self-build show. Having previously done some research into structural insulated panels (SIPs) as a construction method for their project, the couple discovered that the Fife-based practice specialised in creating one-off schemes using this build system. This started the ball rolling.

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About Build It

The September edition of Build It magazine will help you get your self-build, renovation or extension project off on the right foot. It’s packed with inspiration and advice, including: • Britain's best self-builds and renovations (page 19) • A contemporary, low-maintenance home (page 30) • Prefab homes: The future of self-build? (page 70) • Why underfloor heating makes sense for renovations (page 73) • How to create the perfect kitchen-diner extension (page 94) • How to get value for money (page 106) … and more!