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Hidden gem

Jonathan and Judith Gough scoured the Staffordshire countryside to find the perfect plot for their striking contemporary new build home

With a keen interest in architecture, Jonathan and Judith Gough had always wanted to tackle a self build project of their own. After living in a large period property for more than 15 years with their two children, the couple decided to take the plunge and start putting their plans into action. “Over the years we’d developed our family home as much as we could, but in the end, it was always going to be a 100-year-old environmentally inefficient dwelling,” says Jonathan.

Unconventional approach

The pair wanted to remain in the region of south Staff ordshire, close to friends and older relatives. Tracking down an elevated plot with countryside views was also a top priority. However, after several years spent searching for a suitable patch of land with no success, the Goughs had to reassess their strategy. “I started to consider the demolish and rebuild route,” says Jonathan. “So I began looking at older houses or those with a less architecturally-pleasing aesthetic.”

Thanks to his lifelong passion for flying and aviation, Jonathan came up with an innovative way to scour the countryside for a new building site. “I’ve done a lot of fixed wing and helicopter flying. In the end, I used one of these crafts to fly over Staff ordshire and Shropshire, looking for a plot,” he says. “Sometimes, you don’t catch these places on the ground – particularly if they’re very overgrown.”

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About Build It

Build It is Britain’s longest running self build magazine. Each issue is packed full of inspirational and informative readers’ homes, as well as expert advice on issues from budgets and planning to project management and design. This month: - Installing underfloor heating - Flooring cost guide - New routes to self build - What are building surveys?