Rural conversion

The Problem

  • A self build 2 bedroom rural home which was being built by a client who was working full time.
  • A client who had lots of ideas for the house but limited time and opportunity to liaise with the builders and needed an advocate who had eyes on the ground.

The Brief

  • To assist with the design and supervision of a ‘self build’ conversion project with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, utility room, sitting room, kitchen, courtyard garden and mature orchard.
  • To work collaboratively on and formalise designs for the house based on the clients initial ideas and research practicalities and how to make them a reality.
  • To keep track of the client’s ideas and plans and make sure they were enacted.
  • To make sure space was not wasted at any stage of the build to maximise the space inside the small house when it was finished.

The Design & Solution

I worked closely with the client throughout the build. Examples of the design process included:

Maximising space

The priority in this small home was to make sure no space was wasted. Fitted wardrobes and drawers were built right into the eaves and the plaster board downstairs was installed on a slope to follow the old walls so at head height there was an illusion of the room being bigger than its footprint.

The staircase was carefully positioned so that the rooms were as large as possible. An en suite bathroom meant less space was needed for hallways and the downstairs shower room led seamlessly from the utility room. The uility sink doubles up as a hand basin, and sits on the worksurface so there is room for a water softener, washing machine and drier below.

High quality finishes 

Finishes and flooring were carefully selected to be of high quality, robust and long lasting. The kitchen was carefully planned so that standard sized cupboards would fit in. Money saved was used for customised additions such as the oak end panels, the raised shelf and Lakeland green slate worktops.

HINT: If you are planning a self build, having a clear and detailed project plan before you start helps a lot. It helps with finances, gives you managable targets to aim for and breaks the work up.

HINT:  When building new rooms, plan where everything will go and if possible your finishes before you start building. This means you can make better decisions about things which are fixed early on such as plumbing, electrics and floor heights.

The Execution

Each trade was contracted directly by the client and I co-ordinated them all and made sure they acheived my clients vision. Once the structural work was finished (which was supervied by the client themselves) I was on site at least 3 days a week, and usually more, to answer questions and make sure contractors’ work progressed smoothly.

The Result

  • Peace of mind during the build, which was built to the exact specifications of the client.
  • A stylish and comfortable rural home, completed to a high standard.
  • Optimal use of space within the home.

The Cost

The cost of the whole conversion was undisclosed.

    • Alice Clare Studio: Design, project supervision and organisation, purchase organisation – ongoing retainer of £3000 per month for the duration of the build.

You can read more about how I might be able to help you and your home by reading my Services page.