Award-winning home in Powys, Wales – project managed by a single mother…


  • A field owned by the self builder’s parents at Trefeglwys in Powys.
  • On the edge of the village, with good access and mains water.


  • The original 420m2 plot had no planning permission.
  • The self builder was a single mother from a local family in housing need, living in rented accommodation.
  • By building her new home she argued that she would also be able to care for her father, who lived close by.
  • The new three bed house was designed to blend comfortably into it’s rural location.
  • To comply with section 106 conditions for affordability, the house size was restricted to 140m2.
  • Local company Welsh Oak Frame worked to the budget; so they used softwood in parts of the structure that were not exposed, but with green oak where the frame was visible.
  • Members of the family tackled the groundworks/slab; Welsh Oak erected the frame and various friends and sub contractors were employed to fit it out and finish it off.
  • The project was managed by the self builder.
  • Warmcell recycled newspaper insulation gives a high SAP rating of 77, so the house is comfortably warm.
  • The overhanging roofspace above the veranda provides extra storage inside.
  • The family enjoys a home with breath-talking views in a location where it might normally be quite difficult to secure planning permission.
  • The home is very easy to live in. The family enjoyed working on the house together and it’s brought them all closer.


  • The plot/site was donated by the father, who owned the field.
  • Self build mortgage was obtained from Nationwide with staged payments to ensure best cash flow.
  • £100,000 budget meant stringent cost saving measures from the outset. Fixtures and finishes are all quite modest.
  • Total build costs were £105,000 (£750 per square metre).
  • The completed home is now valued at £260,000.


  • March 2006 – Outline Planning application made; granted in May.
  • June 2006 – Detailed Planning application submitted; approved in August.
  • August 2006 – Groundworks commenced.
  • September 2006 – Frame erected, brick plinth built and weatherboards hung.
  • November 2006 – Roof tiled and weather boards sealed.
  • January 2007 – Insulation installed and dry lining completed.
  • April 2007 – Moved in.

Learning Points:

  • Time management was crucial; to avoid having to pay rent and mortgage simultaneously.
  • Get an Order of Works from the construction company, plan everything and set deadlines for everyone to stick to.
  • Look out for special offers on materials at builders merchants. The Bank Holiday sales were often especially good. Negotiate prices with everyone and haggle to get the best possible deals.

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