My First tête-à-tête was with the Barn Conversion Blog (I thought calling it a tête-à-tête made me so much cooler.) And for my second trick I give to you an interview with Calum who also has a self-build property that they started from scratch. Calum’s Instagram is @dapperfranks if you want more of a nosey round (and I’d definitely recommend checking out the D.I.Y tricks!
Please can you start by telling me a little about you and your family?
I’m Calum and I’ve been a firefighter for 15 years, I live in York with my Wife Sarah, Daughter Teigan (14) Son Frankie (7) and daughter Ava (4). We live in a property which was self-built.
What made you decide to build your own home?
We were lucky enough to have family land we could build on, this was an amazing opportunity and not something we wanted to wait to do, we were planning a family and wanted a family home to raise them in.
How long did it take you to complete your build?
From breaking ground it took 9 months to build but that year we had a very hard winter which stalled progress!
Where did you get inspiration from for your home?
Oh we spent so many hours reading magazines, went on so many drives into the countryside looking at buildings we liked, luckily we both liked the same style!
What was the most challenging thing about the self-build process?
Waiting for planning! One thing I’d recommend is going in and talking to the planning officer, ask them questions, discuss ideas, get them on side!
Did you change/think up elements as you went or did you have a plan from the start and stick to it?
We had a plan but some things did change during the build for example we decided on a solid oak staircase and changed the return on it to give a gallery overlook.
Were you involved in the building and design process? Or did you hire others to do it for you?
We pretty much drew the layout and style of the house and then hired an architect to put them into working drawings, the build itself we hired a builder but I’ve tried to stay as involved as possible right throughout, I learnt to tile then tiled the whole house along with us decorating it all!
Did you manage to remain within budget?
Yes to a degree, we had a budget then changed things round a little for example we decided to use some of the garden budget on the upgrading of the stairs and also adding a porch.
If you did it all over again, what would you do differently?
I wasn’t on Instagram or Pinterest at the time so the inspiration side of things was just from magazines, I think this would’ve helped so much at the time! The other thing would possibly be our kitchen, we got caught in a trend trap and went for the white gloss, it’s something we’d probably have different now!
You’re super creative and I know you create a lot of the features in your home – What’s your favourite one? I loved the brass coffee tables and the shoe storage in particular!
I think to date it would be my most recent hallway storage as it’s made such a difference to our lives in keeping things tidy and organising our busy family life!
I’d love to build my own home, but in the interim I’ll stick with trying out some of Calum’s super helpful DIY tricks!