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the oakwrights team were the perfect fit for our project

A HAMPSHIRE HOME CASE STUDY

A BARN STYLE OAK FRAME HOUSE

THE DECISION TO SELF-BUILD AN OAK FRAME HOME

 

Here in her own words is Jennifer’s story


I walked past my current plot of land for eight years when I lived in the same village and walked my dog down the gravel lane where the plot is most days. I used to pass an old (1930's) run down bungalow, lived in by a nice old man, known as a "bit of a character" locally. On his death the plot lay untouched for two years and got pretty overgrown and the bungalow even more run down. The plot was put up for "sealed bid" tender.


You had to be "pre-approved" to make a sealed bid (to ensure you had the funds) and it was like nothing I have ever done before. I presented my sealed bid and heard that day that I had been successful;- I was nearly sick- wondering why I had thought to pay more than anyone else (subsequently learnt that it was quite close), I paid £370k. I had been looking for a period property for renovation but none in my price range arose so I thought "why not build new??". It was not a long term aim of mine to self-build - it came about more by opportunities that presented themselves.The plot did not have planning permission. I knew that I was entitled to build on the existing footprint, but the bungalow was tiny so I hoped to achieve much larger planning permission. I engaged a local sensitive structural engineer to draw up some plans,

 

I invited neighbours and the Parish Council to view them and comment before submission (to reduce any objections). Apart from some delay over a historical land title issue, with very little trouble I secured planning permission for a Green Oak Framed Barn. We made very few changes to our original plans- which were well thought through first time! I got everything I wanted from the planning- position of the new dwelling allowed us to live in the bungalow (after jet washing the inside and removing all the rats that had taken up residence) whilst the new barn was being built- it was demolished after we moved in the barn. Total process was: bought plot in June, planning permission gained in November same year and build started early following year.

OAK FRAME BUILDING COSTS

 

Area:

Hampshire

House Type:

Barn Style Post & Beam

House Size:

3,456 ft2

Build Route:

Self managed with individual
sub-contractors

Finance:

Private

Oak Frame:

£92,000 

Land Value:

£370,000

Build Cost:

£450,000 Inc. Frame

the oak frame supplier has to work with you to get the right result

elevations

floor plans

frame drawings

CHOOSING AN OAK FRAME DESIGN COMPANY

 

Site preparation (lots of old cars and machinery on the site) and preparing to build- getting tenders for the oak frame etc, and groundwork’s - all took about four months. From breaking ground to moving in (with bits still to finish but pretty much done) took just a year, then further six months for subsequent planning for a garage with bedroom above above and general landscaping. So, two years from start to "finish" - although you never ever "finish" an oak barn..
I went to three oak framers- found names through H&R magazine. Prices were fairly similar to be honest. However in subsequent discussion and visits from two of the three companies I found I felt the Oakwrights staff were a better "fit" for me. Oak frames (in my experience) are not an exact science and you need to feel that the oak frame supplier will be working with you to ensure you get a good product at the end.


I know contracts have to be signed but you want to feel that they won't be waved at you the first time something goes wrong! Very little went wrong actually, frame sat quite nicely on the brick plinth (which given the build tolerances is amazing), Oakwrights had to re cut one piece of oak which they did over a weekend and the frame was completed in under a week. The team of carpenters on site were friendly- it went well enough for me to book another oak frame with Oakwrights - I am Project Managing the build of a similar barn for clients in a nearby village.

FOLLOWING A DISCUSSION AFTER AN OPEN DAY THAT JENNIFER KINDLY ALLOWED US TO HOLD AT HER HOME, SHE PUT SOME WORDS TOGETHER REGARDING THE BARN STYLE FRAME THAT WE BUILT FOR HER

hampshire home oak exterior
hampshire home interior
hampshire oak frame home

THE OAK FRAMED HOUSE 3 YEARS ON

 

The best bit about the barn, for me, is the way the large amount of windows/doors on ground floor allows you to see the outside world form every point. The oak framed house sits in the middle of the plot and so these nice views wrap all around it. In the summer, all the doors are open and in the winter, with doors shut and wood burner on you feel as if you are surrounded by all the leaves blowing about or the garden covered in snow- whilst remaining all warm and toasty inside. It is an uplifting space in the darker winter months. The most used room is the kitchen family room, where everyone crowds into- despite having a large lounge and entrance hall. There are seven sofas in the house but everyone sits on the low window cills in the kitchen/family room- something to remember for the next design!

 

I love the hard working slate floor, with a muddy Labrador and many visitors we can just mop it over and away we go again. The conservation grade windows over each lavatory in each en suite/bathroom please me and work well too, you don't need any curtains or patterned glass for privacy and you can lie in the bath and see the stars at night. I can honestly say that there is little I would change on this design in this plot. On the other hand, a green oak barn is based on natural materials that move - over time- so there is a maintenance regime that still applies to my barn after three years and, I suspect, for a few more years to come whilst everything settles down.

beautiful oak house design
stunning timber frame interior

SELF-BUILDING TIPS:


Plan, plan, plan, make sure you know what is to happen when
Check lead times on key materials - before you need them
Make sure you ring around for all prices for raw materials - I found huge variations - make sure you consider the Internet
Don't go just for cheapest quotes on labour - you will need top quality "trades" for a bespoke oak frame house
Ask the "trades" to prepare quantities materials required for their work- saves on QS
Keep accurate VAT records as you go along - don't wait until the end

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