Series following some of the UK's 20,000 self-builders. Wendy and Ray Black from Suffolk are building a modern home in the style of a traditional country cottage.
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We all dream of owning the perfect home.
But finding a place that suits your wallet and your way of life isn't easy.
Well, I have a solution.
Stop searching for something to buy and consider somewhere to build.
Every year in Britain, 20,000 people build their own home.
We'll be following some of them
as they go from foundations to finishing touches.
Along the way, our brave self-builders will experience amazing highs...
This is my life at the moment. It's everything I'm living for.
..and some frustrating lows.
It would be heartbreaking if we had to sell it.
But if they can overcome these trials and tribulations...
You can achieve top-end look for not a colossal amount of money.
..they'll end up with the home they've always desired.
So if you're looking for your perfect pad,
the question is simple.
To build or not to build?
The couple self-building a new home
with a vintage twist in beautiful Suffolk.
It's the house we want, on the plot we like. The two are coming together.
Cheddar gorgeous. The Doncaster self-build shaped like a wedge of cheese.
It's always been my ambition to do a one-off project like this.
I didn't want to build a red brick house with a pantile roof. I wanted to do something different.
And will I nail it when it comes to making a partition wall
at building school?
I don't work well under pressure!
Quaint cottages with thatched roofs, village green, duck pond,
winding lanes. Polstead in Suffolk is the embodiment of an English village.
I'm here to meet a couple who desperately wanted to buy into this timeless lifestyle,
but were put off by the upkeep of a traditional cottage.
If only there were a way to fuse a hassle-free house of today
with an atmospheric dwelling of yesteryear.
Well, that's exactly what our self-builders plan to do.
To fulfil their ambition to fuse old and new,
IT project manager Wendy Black and her PE teacher husband Ray
bought a plot of land in Polstead eight years ago.
The positives - more than two acres of luscious green space and gorgeous views.
What could possibly be the downside?
Occupying the site is this rather interesting property
that one would hardly call quaint.
Wendy and Ray bought this place for the building potential, not the house on it.
But they've had to live in this less than beautiful bungalow first.
Oh, yes, indeed!
-Oh, I like your bathroom!
-Kind of retro, isn't it?
-The wildlife's doing very well!
-Don't, it's appalling.
-We didn't want to spend money on the property so...
It did look slightly better in 2002,
but not having lived in it for over a year...
-There's no point, is there? It really would be dead money.
Ray did really well with this kitchen.
When we moved in, he picked up the entire kitchen for £50.
Typical Scotsman. Everybody loves a bargain, don't they? Yes?
-Even at 50p I think Ray might have overpaid!
Surely the living room can't be as bad as that, can it?
Well, it's a period place. It's of a certain period, isn't it?
Oh, it's absolutely... Oh, dear.
There should be some sort of preservation order on those polystyrene tiles!
Don't. Then we wouldn't be able to knock it down!
Just getting to this stage in their self-build journey
has been a painful experience for Wendy and Ray.
What they hoped would be a short planning process dragged on for six years
before they eventually got the go-ahead to demolish the bungalow.
But just when they thought they could replace their run-down residence,
the British economy started to crumble too.
The credit crunch came along
and our mortgage was with one of the banks that was hit by the credit crunch.
So borrowing the last bit of money to get roughly the amount we need
-was a no-no!
-Oh, that's just nasty, isn't it?
Finally we've got planning permission, now we can't afford to build it.
Unable to obtain the extra finance, they reluctantly put the plot back on the market,
ditched their self-build plans and began searching for a ready-built home.
They eventually fell in love with a modern home to buy
that ticked all the boxes.
Suddenly you found this house that was perfect. Why are you not living there now?
Well, we put the offer in. Put it in on a Sunday,
and had it accepted on the Sunday evening.
The couple who were living there, one of them wanted to go to a bungalow round the corner,
and the other wanted to go to their daughter in Devon.
They were arguing for two days about where they were going.
So they've taken the house off the market.
Sorry, I shouldn't laugh!
You have to laugh, or you'd cry.
-Well, I did!
Fortunately, the tears didn't last long.
Through the internet, Wendy tracked down the man who'd built the house they'd just lost out on.
When he revealed he could replicate the exact design at a price they could afford,
their long-standing self-build ambition was about to become a reality.
It was exactly the same design as the one that we'd just lost.
So you'd stumbled across the designer of the house you'd just lost.
So this time, it's for real.
With the planners happy with their latest design,
they're building a four-bed timber-framed kit house
that replicates the local country cottage style.
This house is cheaper than their previous build quotes and now the bank was happy to lend the money.
The estimated total project cost, including the plot:
Hit that target and they could save over £250,000
compared to buying a similar property in the area.
That's where we are. We're getting the house we want
on the plot we like
and the two are coming together.
Ten days after my visit,
it's time for Wendy and Ray to say bye-bye to the bungalow - if they can bear it!
If I really want to say no, it's now. But I really want to do this!
So it's all go, it's all on its way.
I think you've made the right decision, Wendy.
Making sure it definitely is a final farewell is builder Tony Benfield.
As well as the demolition, he'll be overseeing the construction of the Blacks' new home.
We told Ray and Wendy no tears, no domestics today!
The building's coming down, then we start the build.
Without further ado, it's time to bash this bungalow to bits.
I'm really excited. Thoroughly enjoying it!
There's the old door coming out.
In just an hour, the guys have already made rapid progress.
It's all going to plan. We're on time, where we thought we'd be.
I fancy keeping some of the wallpaper, though!
Never mind the wallpaper! You should have seen the bathroom!
Ripping through a building with a ten-tonne digger looks straightforward.
But there's a high level of skill needed to ensure the structure comes down safely.
The proximity to the neighbouring property means the team has to be extra careful
to prevent the wall collapsing onto next door.
It wouldn't be a great start to being a neighbour
to get half of our demolished house landing in a garden. We've got great neighbours,
so we want to keep them that way.
As everyone watches nervously, the digger tackles the tricky roof section.
One slight error and the neighbours might be needing a new car!
But no need for anyone to panic.
That was dramatic!
It's not long before the bad bathroom bites the dust too, much to Ray's delight!
After eight years of patient waiting and numerous setbacks,
the self-build is officially under way.
-You're having a wonderful day, aren't you?
I'm like a five-year-old!
Clearing the site continues for the next few days.
But it's not as easy as builder Tony anticipated.
We're on the fourth day of demolition.
Where we thought we'd find the old bungalow sitting on a thin layer of concrete as the footings,
we found we actually had not a reinforced slab,
but a raft of concrete that's probably 90 years old
spread over the whole of the surface.
Hence we've ended up with almost like an extra layer
to remove and break up.
What does that mean in terms of costs and extra work?
It hasn't cost you anything, Ray, but it's cost me,
because I gave you a price for the job.
It's probably cost me £1,000.
Because the quality of land is hard to determine prior to digging into it,
self-builders are often hit with extra costs
to put in more stable foundations once work's begun.
But because Wendy and Ray have a fixed-price deal with the builder,
they haven't lost out and the rest of the groundwork goes without a hitch.
However, later, an unexpected £5,000 bill will leave their finances totally drained.
I didn't realise there were no drains included in the quotation whatsoever.
The beauty of building your own home
is that you get a place that's completely suited to your own tastes.
For some, a tried-and-tested design fits the bill.
However, one Yorkshire couple's uniquely-shaped self-build
is more off the wall than off the shelf!
When it came to designing their new home near Doncaster,
Sue Beaumont and her partner Mike Jones
decided the traditional dull detached house didn't quite fit the bill.
So they decided to break the mould and go for something totally different.
And they certainly achieve that with this distinctive three-bed home shaped like a block of cheese!
I've always wanted to build my own house. My dad and my brother are builders
and it's been an ambition of mine to do a one-off project like this.
I didn't want to build a red-brick house with a pantile roof.
I wanted something different. So we engaged with an architect
who helped us come up with this design.
Sue had looked for the perfect plot for three years.
She struck lucky when a friend suggested a former sand quarry near where she was brought up.
It was the unusual shape of the sandpit-cum-plot
that led to the cheese wedge design of their house.
It wasn't obvious where to site the building.
The architect has made it grow organically out of the bank.
We had to dig quite a long way into the bank then it sort of shoots out.
They decided to project manage the construction themselves to save cash.
In another break with tradition, they started with the garden.
We wanted to do the garden before we started building the house,
mainly because once you'd built the house, there's no access round the back.
So we commissioned a garden designer who designed this.
So the garden's quite mature even though the house is only a year old.
Building on sand meant they had to shell out an unexpected £10,000 shoring up the former quarry walls.
It is almost continually stressful.
Every day you're making hundreds of decisions
from the shape and size of the door handles and where you'll get them,
to big decisions about how much you can afford to spend on glass, et cetera.
Being on site every day enabled them to get things exactly how they wanted.
This included taking over the design of the interior
after they decided the architect's original plan didn't feel quite right.
We ended up totally redesigning the interior.
The stairs were going to be in here. We moved them to the hallway.
We changed the layout of the bedrooms and the kitchen.
We completely redesigned it.
The look and feel of the inside of the house is solely down to us.
One thing we wanted was an open-plan living space with the kitchen and dining area together.
One of the jewels of this build is the glamorous bathroom.
I love the way we get natural light through the skylight
and we put some funky lights in as well.
At night time, it's fantastic with a lovely atmosphere in here.
You can have a bath and stare up at the stars.
Upstairs, the sloping design of the house adds to the spacious feel.
This is the master bedroom. We spent a lot of time designing this.
I love the idea that it's high ceilings, it's spacious.
You don't feel claustrophobic.
We've designed walk-in wardrobes and an en-suite.
One of the most important things for me in the design of the house
was to have an area to display all my books.
I've got thousands of books. I'm a budding jazz musician, so I've got saxophones and thousands of CDs.
It took two years to get the project from design to completion.
Despite making substantial changes, their overspend was kept to £20,000.
But with the property now worth an estimated half a million quid,
this canny couple have saved a tidy £125,000 because they built rather than bought.
The overall outcome is absolutely fabulous.
Sue and Mike have got the taste for self-build through their individual cheese-wedge home.
So this might turn out to be just an appetiser.
Maybe in eight, ten, 12 years, I'd like to build a retirement home
that's eco-friendly and sustainable
so as I go into my old age we don't have to worry about heating and that sort of thing.
It's being able to commit two years where you're not working to do it again.
We'll be retired!
So for these two, their tasty self-build project
has given them plenty of food for thought and raised the tantalising possibility
of them rolling up their sleeves again when retirement finally comes.
It's a month since the demolition of Wendy and Ray's bungalow.
The new foundations are in place
and the exterior walls are about to go up on their country cottage.
The house is being built using timber-framed kit panels
pre-made to Wendy and Ray's specifications and assembled on site.
The main advantage of this system is that the initial construction is incredibly quick.
I can't believe that we'll have a complete house by the end of the week.
It's Tuesday and the ground floor is going in.
They'll put the structure for the floor in tomorrow, Wednesday,
and then the upper storey on Thursday.
On Friday they'll start putting the roof on.
But while the pace might be to Wendy's liking, she's not sure about the actual space.
So when we saw the groundworks go in and the flat concrete floor,
it really looked quite small and we stood on it and went, "Ooh!"
So I'm really hoping that we'll see this getting bigger as the day goes on.
And it'll look much larger by the end of the day.
Too late to change anything now, Wendy. They've just built your kitchen!
Husband Ray doesn't share Wendy's concerns about size.
Here we are. First time through the patio doors into the kitchen.
And it's big.
I think it's big.
Just get this feel of where the units come out to.
Ground floor is quickly taking shape. But it's not long before Wendy spots a problem.
It appears an additional door has been added to a fitted larder that's part of the frame.
They've already built the door into there for the internal walls?
That's on the final plans.
-We haven't actually made a decision on that.
-That's on the drawings, so that's what we've built.
But you'll ask me to make a decision and authorise the spending and I haven't.
This might not seem like a big deal,
but Wendy's worried this minor mix-up could cost her extra cash.
Fortunately, there's a simple solution to ease the tension.
-So if we don't want a door here...
-We'll just cover it over.
We haven't lost ground or money and we haven't lost people's patience!
Ray's happy, whereas Wendy... Maybe best to give her a minute or two!
When you're self-building, it's crucial to be in communication with everyone involved
to ensure it runs smoothly and without error.
For Wendy, the larder door soon turns out to be the least of her worries.
She's realised a misunderstanding, this time over the drains,
has left the couple with an expensive bill they weren't expecting.
I had anticipated a cost for the drains would have been included in the quotation.
I understood if there were problems, yes, there'd be extra.
I didn't realise there we NO drains included in the quote whatsoever!
How can you build a house when you know you need drains
and hard cash. It was an extra £5,500.
That's a sizeable sum of money to throw down the drain.
Whilst she's used to managing complex projects and big budgets in her day job,
this unexpected overspend has hit Wendy hard.
Just out of control!
And you can tell that I do like to be in control!
It's getting tougher for Wendy, and her tail-spin only gets worse
when she discovers their local electricity supplier wants over £6,000
to dig up the road to connect the new property to the grid.
Fortunately, hard negotiations and a pragmatic solution
manage to dramatically cut the connection cost.
I've managed to get that down to just about 2,500
and that means we need to have a pole in the hedge
but as we already have a pole for BT,
to have another pole in the hedge with electricity - C'est la vie!
Even at this early stage, Wendy's considering some drastic measures
to get the budget back on track.
It might be that we have to at some point say to Tony,
"Sorry, but we'll have to finish this ourselves." Depends how many surprises we get!
Thankfully, over the next few days, the only shocks Wendy and Ray receive are pleasant ones.
Day four of the frame being erected.
You can see that the top storey is now going in place. It's so quick.
The build team have stuck to their rapid schedule.
By the end of the week, the upper floor is built and they're going higher.
Things are cracking on. We've got the felt moving on to the roof.
The roofers are doing the battening.
The tiles have arrived ready for that stage.
Now it's really beginning to look like a real house.
Ray's camerawork aside, things are looking good.
The build is on schedule and the guys are making speedy work preparing for tiling.
It's just ten weeks since the first timber panel was fitted into place on the foundations.
The house is rapidly coming together.
Time I headed back for a site inspection.
The last time I popped down to Polstead to see Ray and Wendy Black,
I had the, er, delightful experience
of visiting their dilapidated bungalow.
Fortunately, that has now gone and it's being rapidly replaced by a modern cottage
with a vintage twist.
So, how's their self-build journey into yesteryear coming on?
It's three months into the build
and I'm impressed by what's been achieved since I was last here.
Well, well. This has changed now, hasn't it?
It has a bit since you were last here.
Not quite the dingy bungalow it was.
It took just a tad longer to get this up to here
rather than the three hours that the bungalow took to come down.
Did you think at any time, "This is insane, knocking this place down."
Just before it went down, I thought, "This is it.
"This is the minute that if I want to say, 'Stop!'".
After that it was a little bit like getting married.
You're really nervous, you really want to do it, but by God it's for life!
Absolutely, yeah. That's fair comment, isn't it?
And just like any marriage, there are always good times and bad.
So is the honeymoon period over?
I can hear a mixture of glee and stress.
Is that fair to say?
I think any project has glee and stress.
You're always going to get some parts of it that are, "Yes! That looks excellent."
And there's other bits that are, "Oh."
The extra £8,000 Wendy and Ray had spent on drains and electricity
clearly was one of those "Ooh" moments.
However, sometimes it can be the smaller things that cause the biggest upset.
First thing I notice, everything else is in. You're missing a front door.
-Yes, we're missing a front door.
-What do you mean, "Yeah"?
-Problem with the colour.
-What problem with the colour?
-We'd like an oak-coloured front door.
But the colour we've been given
-we hate. We loathe.
Now, you might think the colour of a door would be the least of their worries.
But when it's your self build, ensuring every aspect is exactly right,
can become an obsession.
-The devil is in the detail.
Otherwise we'd have bought a house off an estate
-and said, "We'll have one of those."
-It is what it is.
It's a tiny little detail
but it seems monstrous at the time.
Actually, in the scheme of things, it's tiny
but that was the first time that we've come to a point
-where we were not going to do it.
-Dug your heels in.
Let's forget the front door. The rest of the house looks great,
including the old look exposed beams and traditional fireplace.
Upstairs, the master bedroom also benefits from more handcrafted features.
Now, this is starting to look impressive.
You're immediately drawn to these fantastic beams.
-Yes. Haven't they done well?
-It's as if they're weather-bent all green oak, which they're not.
-We wouldn't get this if we were buying off the shelf.
-And neither would you get the stress!
-but we'd expected some of the stress.
-I think it's fun.
I love it. I like you two. Your glass is half-full, not half-empty.
-Even in a half-finished house.
Because that's the thing, isn't it?
You stand here now, going, "What colour will the walls be?"
But there's still a long way to go.
Yes, it doesn't have any plumbing. It has a few wires.
A rat's nest of wires.
But nothing attached to the end of anything yet.
Ad infinitum. There's still a long way to go.
That's the thing with self-building.
There's always another job to do.
I'd best leave them to it.
It's been a matter of days since my visit and one project is finished with fantastic results.
I've just popped in to the house to see what's been going on today.
The fireplace has been finished and it's beautiful.
The beautiful herringbone brick on the bottom is lovely.
It's no wonder Wendy's excited.
This fireplace will be a real showpiece in the cosy living room.
However, as the build nears completion,
the Blacks discover it's money they're burning at a rapid rate.
-The number of nights I haven't slept.
-Wendy worries about it.
It's doing my head in!
I fancy myself as a pretty handy DIY man.
But have I got the skills needed for self-building a house?
Time for me to go back to school to sample another trade at Leeds College of Building.
Today, it's woodwork, with Mr Gibson.
Right. Joinery. Mark, what have we got in store?
Today we're going to fix a stud wall just like this one.
Stud walls are lightweight structures that form interior walls and door openings between rooms.
They're commonly used to quickly and cost-effectively alter the layout of rooms
such as dividing one large room into two smaller ones.
Looks simple enough to me!
How do you do this right and how do you do it wrong?
When you're measuring it, don't measure it too tight.
You need clearance to pack it off in case your wall is out of plumb.
You need to determine where you'll have openings, like here we'll mark out for a door opening.
How long are you giving me to replicate this fine structure here?
-Half an hour.
-Half an hour?
-Maximum half an hour.
-I'm not here to make it easy for you!
-Thanks very much!
The sleeves are getting rolled up. Right.
Seeing as he's only given me the time this would take a pro,
Mark's agreed to do some cutting for me while I handle the measurements.
Two 1475, please, Mark!
If he's not measured it right, it's going to really show. Really show.
I need to fit the wall into this bay and craft enough space for a door.
I wish I'd paid more attention in Maths!
-It's wrecking my head already, this!
-You'll need half an hour to measure it out!
I know what I need to do now. OK. Think, Simon. Think, think.
Things are going well until I found out that one size doesn't fit all when it comes to doors.
The door we're going to fit. Measure that door against that wall first.
-Write the measurement of the width of that door down first.
-I measured that one there!
You're not fitting one of those doors. You're fitting an internal door.
I've measured it!
You know what they say. If you're not sure, ask questions.
Start again. OK.
Excuse me, sir!
If the door's 803, what should I allow for the frame and casement?
You should add a clearance of 2ml around the entire door.
I've had enough of Maths!
No, divided by two. Good lad. OK.
I need to get building!
-I'm ready to go.
-Are you confident?
Pre-drilling is for wimps and people with time.
For me, it's straight in with the nails.
Five minutes to go, Simon.
I don't work well under pressure!
-If you'd hit the nails as much as the wood, you'd have been nailed up five minutes ago.
-Stop it, you!
Never mind nails. I'm starting to wonder if I should hit the gym a bit more!
I've gone off joinery.
I think I might be a brickie.
Let's see. The moment of truth!
'Now, I don't like to blow my own trumpet...'
That's not bad, that!
'..but I can feel a big ten out of ten coming my way.'
I'm happy with that.
Just a couple of final nails needed.
-I give up, anyway.
-You should have given up before you started!
What? That's all right, that!
What's wrong with that?
These lips are nearly equal to your studs.
They'd stop the plasterboard going flush.
That's what plasterboard is for, to hide stuff like that! Everyone knows that!
-Out of ten?
-If I based it on how much you've got done
and the fact that it's not very well fixed, to put it politely,
I'd give you three or four out of ten on that.
-Four out of ten?! Is that it?
-Yep, that's it.
I think it was better than that!
Back in Polstead, it's four months since Wendy and Ray demolished an undesirable bungalow...
..to make way for a period-style des res.
And from the outside at least, it's starting to look like home.
It's been quite exciting today
cos the scaffolding's come down.
So it's the first time we've actually seen the house
without it having chunks of wood and metal surrounding it.
The planners have got it right in that it's not too big, not too small.
It fits in with the houses around it. We're very pleased about that.
It looks like it's been there for ever.
It's just lovely. It looks really textured and interesting.
The house has come together quickly. Much of the credit must go to their builder, Tony.
The importance of good foundations in this relationship really can't be underestimated.
He is a perfectionist.
He really is.
We have absolutely no - nothing whatsoever - to quibble about
with the finish of anything.
We haven't got a builder we have to go behind, saying, "That's not right, this needs sorting."
We never, ever come into here and say, "That isn't right. It has to be re-done."
Well, there was a slight issue with one thing, wasn't there, Wendy?
The only thing we've done it with is the colour of the door.
If, at the end of the day, that's the only thing we've got to complain about, well...
But with the house nearing completion,
Wendy and Ray's funds to finish the project are running very low.
Wendy's decision to fit high-spec IT and audiovisual wiring
has added an additional six grand to the budget.
Coupled with the earlier overspend on the drains and electricity, cash flow is in crisis.
That's probably the worst bit. That bit of uncertainty.
If money wasn't a problem, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
If only this insulating floor tar could stop money as well as warm air escaping from the house.
Wendy had hoped to find the extra cash by increasing their current mortgage.
But their lender is unwilling to extend the loan.
Switching to a new mortgage provider is an option,
but to do so, they'd incur an expensive penalty charge to ditch their current mortgage deal.
We have a penalty of five per cent of the mortgage to be paid.
It's 9,200 and that's money completely down the drain
because we're needing to remortgage.
The expensive early release fee is a bitter pill.
But if it allows them to finish the build, it's one Wendy and Ray have to swallow.
-The number of nights I haven't slept.
-Wendy worries about it.
Ray just says, "Oh, it'll be fine. It'll sort out. We can do it.
-"What are you worried about?"
-It's like playing tough games of sport.
You've got to motivate, encourage. As she is, she worries about things
and I'm more laissez-faire about them. Doesn't mean I don't care.
It's doing my head in!
But there are ways we could do it and do it differently.
If we decide to do it differently, there's more money again!
Three weeks later. Despite the financial stress, the site's extremely busy.
In the spirit of economising, Ray takes on some of the work himself
and is cutting costs for the couple, hopefully not corners.
Ray's putting down the board that goes underneath
the under-floor heating in the bathroom.
We're doing it ourselves to save ourselves £1,000 putting it in.
We think we can do this.
This is rather nice, cos in reality, I'd rather have done the whole lot.
Not using all these trades.
But I'm trying to do a little job here that one, will save money,
two, give me a bit of satisfaction that I can do it.
It's all hands on deck, and in the space of a week,
the kitchen arrives, there's plumbing and painting and finally,
after all their problems with the utility company, power. It's coming together.
Everything is just changing so quickly.
It's incredible. Yesterday and today we've got everybody on site together.
Yesterday, Ray called it Manic Monday. It's very busy and very exciting.
Five months later, having given them time to finish the furnishings and settle in,
I'm back to cast my eye over the finished cottage.
Well, look at that. Something brand-new, that looks like it could have been here for ever.
It's certainly a Suffolk stunner.
-Hello, hello! All right!
-Come on in.
Wendy and Ray's home is a mix of old-world charm
combined with simple, clean design.
From the feature inglenook fireplace to the exposed beams throughout the house,
this place certainly has got character.
You're invited into this as soon as you walk through the front door.
It's lovely. We love the width of the passageway, the corridor there.
And it opens out. We just love this house.
Ray, what do you like about this room?
Space, light, things matching the oak beams.
I like the brickwork. We love the brick because it's reflected throughout the house.
We find that very pleasant and pleasing to our eye.
-And the inglenook.
-Yes, the inglenook is brilliant.
It is huge, but it's a bit of a statement and it is just part of the house.
There's a real open, light feel to this home
and that continues in the kitchen.
-So this is the kitchen. Obviously!
I'm an expert in these things. I'd have spotted it, you know!
-Just in case!
-Great space again.
Once more, opens up to outside.
Yes. I asked for French windows to be put in instead of just a window
so that we could get out onto the patio from here.
-It seems you want to tie in all the house with outside space.
-Yes. It's a fantastic property.
-And it has a fantastic space outside.
-Once more, you have the oak beam in here,
-this theme running through.
-We love wood. Wood is a theme right through.
Lovely big kitchen. Great space.
A view of the back. Absolutely fabulous room.
More! Come on, more! After you.
While much of the house is neutral in style,
they have put their individual stamp on the place.
Mainly with the carpets. From the tartan in the study to the zebra print deep pile in the guest room.
But it's how they finished off the master bedroom that I'm interested in.
I remember during my mid-point visit these beams were just going in.
If I remember rightly, they're just for show, not load-bearing.
-No, not load-bearing.
-But they really add something.
-Yes, I think they give a big wow!
With four spacious bedrooms, two en-suites and a family bathroom...
..this place is certainly a world away from the house that stood on this plot.
I distinctly remember when we looked round that gorgeous old bungalow,
that you said what you wanted was a very modern house but that felt very traditional.
-Have you achieved that?
-The aim was to get something people might recognise as a Suffolk home.
That looks a little bit old but isn't old,
cos I didn't want all the draughts and the repairs that go with it!
-So you've got your new house and I've got my old traditional looking.
-And that's the marriage you were after.
We've had nice true compliments from people
saying it looks like a traditional house.
It sits well in the village.
And yes, that's great,
but we were doing it for us.
But it's nice that we can actually add to it and it sits well.
But there have been stresses along the way.
From the unexpected costs of their drainage and connecting the electricity
to the expensive remortgaging process to fund the final stages of the build.
So has it been worth it?
The couple bought their plot and original house for:
They estimated £220,000 to complete the house.
The final project budget, including landscaping, garage and fees was:
That's more than they intended to spend.
What would an estate agent value the property at?
Our valuer is happy to give this place a market value at the moment
-That's good. Better than I hoped!
-I like that. I thought he'd come in at about 625.
-That's a fantastic result.
It's not good, it's brilliant!
You're being very modest about this process.
It doesn't matter because we're staying here.
So at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if it's worth 700
or if it's worth seven million - it's what it is to us.
There's a bit of location, location about it. It's a great spot.
can be anywhere or special places and this is our special place and we've got it.
You always said - we joked about the fireplace in the old bungalow -
and in this place you've made a gorgeous inglenook the focal point
of your lovely new home.
So I've got a little present for you. Don't move!
-Just as a little memento.
-That's lovely. Thank you very much.
It's something old and traditional,
to go in your brand-new but traditional-style house.
-It's lovely. Thank you very much.
-That does the part.
-Well done, both.
It's been absolutely fabulous. A triumph of a house, this.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Wendy and Ray Black from Suffolk are building a modern home in the style of a traditional country cottage. Plus the Doncaster couple who have built an unusual wedge-shaped home, and presenter Simon O'Brien gets stuck in to building stud walls at building college.