One of the things I am learning about self building a house is that it is in itself a learning process. Even people who’ve done it before, or professionals who’ve worked on self builds for years, can run into new challenges. This is why it’s easier and less stressful to go for a package build like ours, so we do all the hard work and you get to just stand and watch your new home take shape.
I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading online, and discovered there are many amazing people blogging about their self-build experiences. The major resource sites mostly have blog sections where they post ‘readers’ stories’, so I won’t bother linking to those, they’re easy enough to find, I’ll stick to telling you about the ones that are hidden several pages or more back on the search engine results. These are not listed in any particular order of preference, each is useful and informative in its own way.
The first one I recommend reading is The Self Build House Project Diary by Oliver Cannell, which you can find here. It begins with the acquisition of a plot that already has planning permission and then follows through the various stages of planning and then building the traditional brick and block house. The website-based blog sadly ends in January 2015, before the house is finished, but there are a few more photos and updated bits and pieces on his Facebook page which can be found here. It provides a lot of useful insight into the early stages of planning and constructing a self-build home using professionals rather than going the DIY route.
Looking at things from a very different point of view is The Real Self Build Blog by a chap called Stuart, who documents how he and his wife did 95% of the work on building their own conventional brick construction home here. This one also stops short of telling you the very final stages, though it does provide images of the finished house. I’m guessing he was so worn out from all the hard work that he just ran out of steam for writing blog posts.
The third one that is worth looking at is The Marsh Flatts Farm Self Build Diary by David Brooke here , a slick and professional documentation of an architect-designed new home build in stone and timber cladding that is still ongoing. Not only does the blog provide visual and bullet point details of progress, but it holds full details of the brief and design specs for the project and the design/build team, technical articles, and useful links to recommended reading. It’s a really excellent all-round resource.
The next blog deals with building a log home in the wilds of Scotland and is titled From Here to Eternity. It’s written by a chap called Steve Carter who has a gloriously cheeky and irreverent style of writing, which he combines with superb photos and graphics on the blog as well as helpful little technical notes on things like ground source heating. This is my personal favourite, mainly because of Steve’s sense of humour, but that aside, it’s a well written and informative blog which will be useful if you’re thinking of building a log home.
The final choice is a timber frame zero carbon house, the blog is called Porter’s and is written by David L link . His updates are a little sporadic and delayed towards the end of the project, but he does cover everything from digging the foundations to moving in, and he continues the blog to document how the house performs after they move in. It’s a useful one for anyone considering going down the zero carbon or Passivhaus route to self build.
There are quite a few other blogs out there, not all of them are as detailed as the 5 above, but if you’re really interested, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a list of links to follow up on.