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Concrete example

Seasoned self builders Gisela and Andrew Blee challenged themselves with their latest project, built into a hillside in the Cotswolds

It was a sunny day in late May 2015 when Gisela and Andrew Blee arrived by motorbike to view an overgrown plot in Stroud, Gloucestershire. The land was formerly part of a neighbouring property and was situated on a quiet stretch of lane. It had caught their eye during an idle moment of online house hunting.

“The weather was beautiful”, says Gisela. “It made us feel like it was to meant to be.”

Andrew is a keen windsurfer, which proved a source of inspiration for working out how they could self build here. “The land was such a tangle of scrub and trees”, says Gisela. “It was impossible to get a clear picture of what the views might eventually be like.” So, when the couple returned to the site several times over the next few weeks to investigate further, they brought along a camera and a windsurfing mast. The camera was mounted atop the device and hoisted up among the tall Scots pines, brambles and bushes. Images captured revealed beautiful lines of sight across the Golden Valley, as this part of Stroud is known for.

Gisela and Andrew are not novice house builders. The couple previously lived in Rugby, where Gisela, who had worked in marketing, turned her hand to managing four builds between 2009 and 2016. One of the projects in Rugby was their own house, while the other three were developed to be sold. “The first plot I worked with was flat, with easy connections for services – a great build to cut your teeth on”, says Gisela, who continued to oversee final works and sales of two of the properties while the Stroud scheme was commencing.

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About Build It

Plan, design and build your dream home with practical advice and inspiration from Build It magazine. Highlights in this month's issue include: - Design Secrets to Win Over the Planners - Home Extension Costs - How to Find a Project with Renovation Potential - Building Contracts: Why You Need One - Buyer's Guide to Sliding Doors - Outdoor Living Ideas - Build It magazine's own Real Life Self Build ... and more!