Home Design

A self build home should be designed specifically for you, for your needs and to your tastes.  What the house looks like is obviously important, and we encourage self-build clients to look at a wide range of references for this, but it is also worth considering some of the broader ideas within contemporary house design.  Three examples of this are explored below.

An Eco-House design for Scotland's Housing Expo from Douglas's previous practice at David Blaikie Architects

An Eco-House design for Scotland's Housing Expo from Douglas's previous practice at David Blaikie Architects

Eco Homes

The desire to reduce energy consumption has driven a great deal of innovation in the design and construction of buildings, both in construction and use, and to make use of cleaner energy.  In addition to being environmentally responsible, an Eco-home also costs much less to run. 

We take the view that environmental considerations should be incorporated into a design rather as an after-thought.  One simple example is responding to the orientation of the site to make use of passive solar gain by placing more glazing to the south and more insulation to the north.  This reduces the energy required to run the house and therefore the cost.  Low-carbon building materials can be used in to reduce the energy used in construction and the minimal energy requirements can be met by using micro-renewable technology.

These principles were applied in this successful entry to Scotland's Housing Expo, which Douglas worked on in previous practice at David Blaikie Architects.  From over fifty houses in the Expo, this was the only one delivered on time and on budget, and cost just £40 per year to heat.

Future Homes

People's needs change over time and self-build homes can be designed with this in mind.  In addition to meeting the client's immediate needs, good design can include future proofing for future scenarios.  

An example of future proofing might be to include multiple living spaces on the ground floor, initially to accommodate a family, but allowing for one to become as a bedroom in more senior years.  Many other simple measures can be considered to enable adaption for scenarios where occupants develop mobility issues.  Thinking about these scenarios before they become a reality makes their incorporation into the design.

In this example project, the houses were designed to be affordable and energy efficient, as well as future-proofed for life-long habitation.  The south facing principle living space is designed for passive solar gain, whilst the north facing sitting room can be re-purposed as a bedroom in future years.

Future proof principles applied to affordable housing.

Future proof principles applied to affordable housing.

A regenerated agricultural building.

A regenerated agricultural building.

Renovation and Conversion

Many self-build home designs are based on the re-use of an existing building.  This can include making changes to or extending a house or converting a building formerly used for something else.

Making use of an existing building can often make obtaining permissions more straightforward, although achieving energy efficiency can be more challenging.  Reconciling the various constraints and characteristics of the building with the clients needs is something we particularly enjoy.  Often the most challenging aspects of this become the central to creating interest in the resulting design.

A variety of approaches can be taken to the regeneration of existing buildings, balancing the retention of character with being bold and forward looking.  This subject is explored in more detail in the regeneration section of the website and there are a number of examples within our portfolio of projects.