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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Polished performence

Surrounded by a tranquil garden, Colin and Chris Pilcher’s Passivhaus-standard Devon home is impressive in both looks and energy efficiency

Colin and Chris Pilcher admit they had always been very fussy when it came to buying property. But in the case of their current home, their selectiveness was about location rather than the buildings themselves. A rural setting with the potential for a beautiful garden far outranked whatever the house itself off ered. That’s why, in 2012, they decided to buy a damp, falling-apart cottage on the edge of a Devon village, after just a 10-minute viewing and in the face of fierce competition.

At the time, the couple were semi-retired and looking for a property-related project, however not necessarily a self-build. In anticipation, the pair had sold their home and moved into rented accommodation, knowing that as cash buyers they could “get to the front of the queue,” as Colin puts it, when the right opportunity arose. The plan worked – they weren’t the highest bidders, but they were in the most favourable position for a quick sale.

“We bought the cottage with a view to renovating and extending, but it was in a dire state – there were windows held with tape, and the whole place was rotting,” says Colin. “Our architect told us to go round the house with a clipboard and write down all the interesting features. We soon saw where he was coming from – there weren’t any.”

Early rejection

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About Build It

The December edition of Build It magazine is packed with practical advice and inspirational projects to help you make a success of your scheme, including: • A budget-friendly self-build home (page 20) • Underfloor heating vs radiators (page 69) • Getting lighting right (page 77) • 10 steps to self-build design success (page 81) • Does your plot have real potential? (page 96) … and more!