Designing Your Perfect Self-Build

Drew Barker
Posted September 29, 2023

Good design is about how your home performs…

When designing your perfect self-build, Beattie Passive offers you a choice of options to give you the freedom to choose the most appropriate route for your own unique Passivhaus project. We can take your architectural plans and provide the design and technical services you need to achieve Passivhaus performance. You could decide to go a step further and commission us to build the structural thermal envelope for you. Or we could handle the entire project from start to finish.

Designing Your Perfect Self-Build
Eco Home of the Year 2017 Corvalla was the first Passivhaus property to be built on the Isle of Man

Good design is about how your home performs and how the spaces interact and flow together, but also how it meets your needs. We always recommend working with architects, architectural technologists and similarly qualified professionals to help you achieve the best results. This will also save you time in the long run with regard to building regulations, as they will know what is likely to be approved by the planners. Although we regularly work with architects to give self-builders complete design flexibility for their bespoke homes, self-builders can also choose from our ‘pattern-book’ – most of which have been built before and are customisable to your needs.

Wants Vs Needs

Start with your physical requirements and let the stylistic decisions flow from here. Select the number of rooms, sizes and shapes, plus any special features such as a large window to maximise the view. Then decide what you can live without, as it’s easy to run away with notions of a cinema room or an indoor pool. Think laterally, too, such as do you need space to accommodate audio equipment or a wine cellar?

What are the restrictions?

Building regulations will influence your home’s design but it’s the local planning authority that will have the biggest say in what you can and can’t build. Planners can dictate the materials, size, shape, height and orientation of your home, all of which have a great bearing on its design. Making the planning office your first port of call will pay dividends and ensure your time is spent on creating a realistic design.

Sympathetic style

A design that is sympathetic to its surroundings is more likely to be approved, so take account of the street setting and vernacular, and whether or not the house is visible from the road. Scale is very important in this aspect, as it can make the house dominate or recede from the neighbouring properties.

Cost effectiveness

Your budget will probably be the main factor that dictates what you can and can’t have. Try to make a connection between design features and cost. Over-designed homes are expensive to build and the results sometimes questionable, so be prepared to edit the plans. Having a limited budget doesn’t have to mean a poorly-designed house, but it will require careful planning to make the most of what you have.

Looking for further information? 

Designing your home is the most exciting part of the whole build process and time will be well spent researching your ideal layout to ensure your dream home is exactly that.

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