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All wrapped up

Gillian and Shaun Robson encased a plain cottage in characterful brick and added two matching extensions to create a home that suits their needs and makes a beautiful statement in its protected rural setting

Location was everything for Gillian and Shaun Robson when they decided to move from their longstanding family home and take on a building project. In fact, they wouldn’t have looked twice at the house they eventually found if it hadn’t been for its stunning position, in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), with 360° views of rolling Yorkshire hills. It was an unassuming structure made from red engineering bricks, but Gillian and Shaun only had eyes for the surroundings. Another decisive feature was the fact the property came with six acres of land – perfect for the five horses and five dogs they had at the time.

“The cottage itself was quite modest”, recalls Gillian. “It was small and fairly basic and hadn’t been modernised for a long time, so in many ways it was a blank canvas.. The property, built in 1869, had originally been two farmworkers’ cottages, which had been knocked into one by a previous owner. Even then, it only had a small footprint and three compact bedrooms. “We had often driven past and seen the house from the road”, says Gillian. “We already knew the neighbours and they kept hinting that it would be coming up for sale soon. In the end, it was never put on the market. Instead we did a private deal with the owners, which worked well for both parties – they were looking to move, and we were keen to buy.”

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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!