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Digital Subscriptions > Build It > September 2019 > Family affair

Family affair

Victor Day took on his first oak frame self build with the help of his brother, resulting in the award-winning cottage he now shares with wife Helen and his in-laws
@The pretty oak frame cottage sits on a one-and-half acre plot with its own pond and woodlands. Handmade clay roof tiles and oak detail around the porch draw the cottage style together

Victor and Helen Day are self build veterans, having created six of their previous houses during the last 35 years. However, this is the couple’s first venture into the oak frame method, which earned them an accolade for Best Oak Frame House at the 2018 Build It Awards. Victor, who jointly owns a construction business with his brother, has been a bricklayer since he was in his teens and wanted to explore a new challenge. “Helen and I have always lived in new houses that I’ve developed in brick and block,” he says. “This time around, we wanted a property with the character that comes with oak, plus space to accommodate Helen’s parents and my office.”

Unexpected opportunity

Back in summer 2015, when Victor first spotted this plot, the couple were quite happy in their current home and had no intention of starting self build number seven. However the site, once part of a horticultural nursery, had a lot going for it. Situated behind a house on a quiet residential street, it benefitted from expansive views onto open farmland. “It’s hard to come by an individual patch of land of this size, for this price, near the village. Plus, it was only a five-minute drive from where we were living,” Victor explains. “Helen and I really liked the views and the space, and the pond with an old willow tree in the middle. We knew it wouldn’t be available for long – it had planning for two houses and had come back onto the market after a previous sale fell through – so we decided to go for it.”

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About Build It

Make a success of your bespoke home building project with inspirational design ideas and practical advice from Build It magazine. Our September issue includes: - Barn Conversion Guide - Buying Land - money saving tips - Should You Use an Architect? - Designing Your Home Renovation - Windows: Repair or Replace? - Build It's real-life Self Build Education House ... and more!