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From little acorns

David and Jennifer Spillane’s modern oak frame home was their second self-build on the same large site – and the couple took the opportunity to put their experience into action
The couple invested heavily in landscaping and external works to help the house, set on a former orchard, blend into its leafy surroundings

Constructing two properties on a single plot had always been David and Jennifer Spillane’s objective. “We saw our first project as not only a means to providing funding towards the second, but also contributing to a long-term pension plan”, says David. Having bought a former orchard site, then built and sold the first house, they were able to put into practice the lessons they had learnt along the way – with a few hurdles, of course.

The two-acre plot had good road frontage for the two houses, and was big enough to provide ample screening between the finished dwellings. While there are many design similarities in the properties, a degree of individuality is nevertheless present, in the way they appear both externally and internally. “We wanted them to look like they belonged in the local environment as a pair, even though they are not completely the same”, explains Jennifer.

The builds ran on consecutively, which meant the Spillanes didn’t get to enjoy a particularly lengthy period of contemplation before laying the foundations for the second house. “There wasn’t much time to sit back and ponder on how to do things diff erently”, says Jennifer. “However, we’re quick learners and were able to foresee where problems may arise and plan to avoid them. Needless to say, though, others arose to take their place!”

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About Build It

Looking for ideas and practical advice to help you create a tailor-made home that suits your lifestyle perfectly? The July issue of Build It has you covered. Here's a sneak peek at what's inside: - Self-build secrets: 10 things you need to know before you build - How to get planning permission for your extension - PVCu windows: are they the right choice for your project? - The best ways to insulate foundations - Going off-grid: options for heating & electrics - Budgeting basics: how to get an accurate estimate for your build ...and more!