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A garage and outbuilding complex – An interview with Mr & Mrs Stobart

What is your favourite aspect of your timber outbuilding?

“Apart from the oak garage and timber car port, it’s the workshop. I’ve never had a workshop in my life, and it’s very nice to be able to disappear there for a while as a bit of an escape and pastime. There’s also a lot of satisfaction to have something purpose built, close to the house, set out exactly as desired, that actually works. It’s 15 metres from the house to the outbuildings, which is perfect in our view. We got to make it just how we wanted, a bit different and unique. We weren’t designers, but we knew what we wanted.”

What did you learn from your self-build?

“Plan everything. And when you think you’ve planned enough, go back and plan again.”

What was the most satisfying part of the process?

“Thinking that a bespoke oak building you’ve put on a piece of paper has become a reality; seeing the finished product of an idea that you have conceived. Self-builds are difficult because the possibilities are just endless. But finally deciding on your design and materials is very satisfying- although not for the faint hearted.”

What did you think was the most difficult part of the timber frame process?

“Dealing with the planning permission process. It was very long-winded, and you haven’t done anything yet at that stage, you’ve just put plans together. In fact, it took longer to get the planning permission than to complete the build itself.”

Is there anything you’d do differently next time?

“Not really- we did go 15% over budget, but the build was a labour of love for us. We weren’t building to sell on, we were building something lasting that was for us, so we didn’t want to scrimp on saving money and look back with regrets, wishing we had done something differently and splashed out. If you can afford it, and you plan to live there for 20/30 years, it’s worth doing. If it’s the material you know you want, and you can afford it, then do it.”