The solution? Self-build – but with expert input from architects, project managers and proper builders.
Now Angela and Jon Thompson are living “The Good Life” in a dramatically extended house with a six-acre plot for eight alpacas, five rescue goats, a sheep and Shetland pony that they foster, plus chickens rescued from battery farms.
Sara and Adrian James now live exactly where Sara wanted them to be, although instead of the draughty 1960s bungalow they bought their new home has the flexibility to see them through to retirement and beyond.
And Lorraine and Jeff King have also replaced a badly insulated bungalow with a state-of-the-art Potton timber frame bungalow with an interior that they designed themselves.
All three couples have benefited from using professionals to make their dreams come true.
And anybody visiting the Build It Live shows in Kent and Manchester next month or in Oxfordshire in June will be able to talk to more experts and get advice on creating their own self-build dream, too.
The Build It Live shows will provide weekends of inspiration from hundreds of the UK’s leading suppliers for advice on everything from planning to building or renovating.
Each has free workshops and seminars on themes ranging from how to secure a plot to eco-friendly construction techniques and other self-builders will talk about their completed projects.
Build It Magazine will also run an Ask Our Experts zone, where you can have free face-to-face consultations – although you need to book early – and the PlotSearch Zone offers expert advice on finding the right plot.
Certainly Angela and Jon Thompson have never regretted their decision to transform a smallholding in Grafty Green, Kent, an hour away from Bromley where Angela works as a primary school teacher.
“We love the view over the meadows, especially in the morning,” says Angela.
The couple used professional architects to reconfigure the original bungalow’s layout and add a high…