Episode 6 To Build or Not to Build


Episode 6

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Transcript


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We all dream of owning the perfect home,

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but finding a property that suits your wallet and way of life isn't easy.

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Well, I have a solution.

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Stop searching for something to buy, and consider somewhere to build.

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Every year, 20,000 people make the journey of a lifetime

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and opt to build their own home, and we'll be following some of them

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as they go from foundations to finishing touches.

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I was gobsmacked,

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and I'd never realised it would be the wow factor that it actually is.

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Along the way, our brave self-builders will experience amazing highs...

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We never would've been able to afford to buy what we built, and that's why we built.

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..and some frustrating lows...

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Spoken to the council, they can help me pull it down

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if I have to pull it down, simple as that.

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..but, if they can overcome these trials,

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they'll end up with the home they've always desired.

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So, if you're looking for your perfect pad,

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the question is simple - to build or not to build?

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Coming up...

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The family finding out that building a dream home isn't always fun.

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Just a really awful time at the minute, to be honest,

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I just want to get to the other side of it now and building again.

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The seaside self-builders riding the crest of a wave.

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I think when you look around it's just such a shame

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that we all live in boxes and we can do something more unusual.

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And I come unstuck learning how to wallpaper.

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-There you go, boss.

-Yeah, that's not bad.

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If you're in need of a bigger house but don't want a mortgage to match,

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it could be worth considering building your own

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rather than buying someone else's.

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I'm here on the edge of York to meet an expanding family who want

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to build a big six-bed house on a teeny tiny budget in this lovely village.

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Sounds good, but you know what? I smell conservation area.

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When it comes to historic buildings,

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York certainly has its fair share.

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With its magnificent minster and muddle of medieval streets,

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the city is one of the oldest and busiest tourist attractions in Britain.

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Just outside the city walls is the village of Huntington.

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Part of it is classified as a conservation area,

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which means any new development must fit in with the surrounding area.

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And that's the challenge facing self-builders Steven and Becky Worboys,

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who are about to build a large, detached family home for them

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and their four young children in the heart of the village.

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But getting the go-ahead to build in protected areas is never straightforward.

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I live in a conservation area.

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The house I live in I renovated within that conservation area

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and, to be quite frank, it was a nightmare.

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Have you found that?

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-It's not been easy.

-Second time round, these plans are.

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Second time round's been easier.

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The first original plans we had,

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basically we ended up withdrawing them.

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We're bang slap in the conservation area,

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so we have to be really careful about the design of the house

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and that everybody's happy with it, the council

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and local residents need to like it, as well.

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Website designer Becky and accountant, Steve,

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are now waiting for their second application

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to be approved by planners to build on this paddock

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which they bought from Rebecca's parents for £125,000.

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They're building a substantial red-brick, six-bed home

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that will include lots of open-plan living areas

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perfect for enjoying family get-togethers.

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The design also includes a large conservatory,

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which means they'll still be able to make the most of their rural views.

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But while their dream home will be big, the budget to build it is tiny.

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They're planning to spend a total of just £160,000.

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This bargain build budget would have been even cheaper

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but for extra expense caused by being in a conservation zone.

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Properties in protected areas have to conform

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to demanding architectural specifications,

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and this often means the materials end up costing significantly more.

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There's a lot of extra cost based on where we are.

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Because of the specification, you can't have man-made roof tiles,

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but also, the houses are worth a lot of money down here.

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There are houses in the village

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that are smaller than ours will be going for like 450,000.

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Which is the other reason we are self-building.

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Yes, to house a large family,

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but also to get a house which you would never be able to afford

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in such a lovely place.

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-Absolutely.

-It would be impossible, actually, for us.

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We're probably looking at 40-50% cost savings.

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With similar-sized properties in the area valued at the half million pound mark,

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if Becky and Steve can stick to their £285,000 budget,

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they could be seriously quids in.

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The family are currently renting a home from Becky's parents

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that's just yards away from the build site.

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The three-bed cottage had proved more than adequate

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until the recent addition to the Warboys brood, Baby Jamie.

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This little fella is basically the catalyst

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-that's really got things going.

-Yeah, it's all you fault, Jamie.

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'With a family of six, size matters,

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'and in their current home there's simply not enough room.'

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It must be bursting at the seams.

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That's one word for it.

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We've got two girls with an OK-sized bedroom,

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the third little girl's got a tiny shoebox room,

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and she's nearly four and is wanting to play

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and hasn't got room to play in her room, and Jamie's in with us,

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which is all right when he's this size, but he hasn't got a wardrobe,

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and I've had to give up a lot of clothes space.

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He's going to end up sleeping in a wardrobe!

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Sleeping in a drawer at the bottom, maybe, yeah.

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He needs a bedroom, he really does.

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'Becky grew up in Huntington, and it's easy to see why

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'she was keen to build her own home in this gorgeous location.'

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This is a really, really lovely plot.

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I can completely understand why you want to start your family home here.

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We're in love with it, I've loved it all my life,

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we need to be here.

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It means so much to me to live here, it really does.

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Won't be that quiet in a couple of weeks though, will it?

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Once all the mixers are started and you're causing chaos back here...

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-Upsetting the neighbours.

-Absolutely, yeah.

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It'll be worth it though.

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Yeah, and we're looking at a really fast build,

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that's one of the benefits of what we're doing.

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Our fantastic builder said he can do it in 15 weeks.

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Great, OK, fantastic.

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Fast build, on budget, because we have an accountant on board...

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We shall see.

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I will leave you to enjoy the peace for a moment,

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-because all that, I'm sure, will be shattered very soon.

-Thank you.

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And a pleasure to meet you, young man. He's waking up.

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-See you later.

-Bye now.

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And while this building lark might seem like child's play to Jamie,

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it's not long before Becky's best laid plans are coming unstuck.

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Right, 1650.

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The builders have been allowed on site to stake out the plot,

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but despite three months of negotiations with the council,

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Becky hasn't been given the planning permission which would let them build.

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The delay is a major blow to her hopes.

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I did not have a clue when I started this

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how difficult the planning process would be.

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You think, "Yay, we've got a lovely plot,

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"we'll build a house on it, get planning permission,

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"how hard can it be?"

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Most planning applications are processed in about eight weeks,

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but the tough restrictions on what can be built

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in a conservation area and protection given to the mature trees

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on the plot mean Becky's been forced to change

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some key elements of her plans.

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We've got a few little quirks and changes to do for the council.

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Like, Highways wanted a slightly bigger drive, otherwise they were happy,

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but the tree people didn't want the driveway to encroach too much on the root protection area.

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Meanwhile, the conservation officer didn't like the way

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the garage was situated, so we've had to move the garage slightly,

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without affecting the trees, and with Highways getting a bigger driveway.

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Stressed much? No!

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All these extra issues means Becky's original budget of £160,000

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has already gone up by 25 grand

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and, ominously, building work's yet to begin.

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Two months later, the Warboys become fed-up of waiting

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and allow the builders to start work,

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even though all their planning issues haven't been resolved.

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While this isn't illegal, it is a risk -

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if permission isn't granted, they could be ordered to restore

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the plot to its previous state, costing time and money.

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And within hours of the diggers getting busy,

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there's a rather nasty shock for Becky to deal with, too.

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Yesterday there was a large tree stump that had to be taken out of the ground,

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which we knew about and had permission to take it out,

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it's from an old protected tree that died a few years ago.

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When they removed the tree stump, they didn't realise

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it was along with a mains electricity cable as well.

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Pulled it up, the mains electricity cable got snapped

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and, basically, I think we must have taken out about 100 houses.

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The problem was so severe,

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parts of the village were cut-off well into the early hours.

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Problems with the pub, because all the food defrosted.

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So, it was a pretty dreadful day.

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And things only got worse - Becky's gamble to begin work

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without full planning permission also backfires.

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The council's Planning Department got wind

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and advised Becky to shut the site down

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until all the paperwork's in place.

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To be honest, it was like watching your house be repossessed,

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watching those diggers drive off this morning

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when we were so happy to see them come in, that's it really.

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And the early double disaster has left Becky questioning

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whether she's got the strength to see the build through.

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I've always said, even with the stress of planning

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it's always been a case of it'll be worth it in the end,

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but now, yesterday was the first day I really thought,

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"Is it worth it? Is it worth feeling this ill and stressed?"

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Because I felt ill yesterday with it.

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Just a really awful time at the minute, to be honest,

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I just want to get to the other side of it now and be building again.

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There's something alluring about the sea,

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you just can't help but be drawn to it.

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And that's exactly what happened to Lesley and Rob Watson

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who upped sticks from the landlocked Midlands

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to self-build on the beautiful Devon coast.

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Britain's seaside towns certainly can play it safe

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when it comes to architecture.

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The odd splash of pastel as daring as it gets.

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But, when interior designer Lesley and her librarian husband Rob

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found a great plot in Seaton on the South Devon coast,

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they were determined to do something a little less conventional.

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I think when you look around,

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it's just such a shame that we all live in boxes

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and we can do something more unusual,

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and why wouldn't you if you've got that chance?

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If you can do something different with curves or different angles,

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I think that's really nice.

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Originally, we wanted to have a conservatory.

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In the end, we decided to just build

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the whole conservatory idea into the house.

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So, that's why we've got these 27 windows here.

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And that's exactly what they've achieved.

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And all that glass means the interior's flooded with light.

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So this is our main living space,

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and what I really love about this is the height of the ceiling

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and the fact that you've got all this glass and the beautiful sea views.

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It's so light in here you feel like you're living in a conservatory,

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with all the light it's just so lovely.

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From the kitchen diner...

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..through to the lounge...

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..and then to the master bedroom, the wall to ceiling windows

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ensure the living area's always bright and welcoming.

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And even in spaces where you'd normally struggle to find natural light,

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Rob and Lesley came up with an illuminating design.

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I was a little concerned at first that it was going to be

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really dark-feeling as you come down this corridor,

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so our solution was actually to put these little slots through,

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and all the light comes through from the main windows.

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And of course, you can see through and have a chat with anyone

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who happens to be through there, as well, so it's quite fun

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that you can see what's going on as you walk down the corridor.

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From Lesley's walk-in wardrobe...

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..to Rob's music room...

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..the couple really have created their ideal space by the sea.

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The house is packed full of eco-friendly features,

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including a green roof that uses plants to provide extra insulation.

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But, before work even began, Rob, who project-managed the build,

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opted to get closer to nature himself.

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When we first bought the plot,

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I came down and camped here in my little tent.

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It was very important to actually get a feel of the plot before

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we did the final design of the house,

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because we wanted to feel that the house itself

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sat in the plot in a natural way.

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After spending £150,000 on the plot, and a night under canvas,

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building began.

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But, their tight £200,000 budget resulted in another extended spell

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camping on site while they built their curvaceous home.

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We lived in a caravan during the build, a very small caravan,

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and we just had literally a hosepipe attached to the tap,

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cold water, a tiny little port-a-potty, so washing your hair,

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all that kind of thing, was a complete nightmare.

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I can't say it was fun, but it was an experience.

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To save more money, Rob and Lesley did a lot of the work themselves,

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however this hands-on approach meant their build

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took a gruelling 17 months to complete -

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that's a long time with only a hosepipe for water.

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Getting stuck in meant they eventually came in

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just £5,000 over their original budget,

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and choosing to self-build ultimately made financial sense,

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compared to buying a ready built property by the sea.

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We had a valuation from the local estate agent

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which came in at about 600,000, so that's a big saving, actually.

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Looking back now, that's a saving of a quarter of a million pounds,

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so, you know, we're quite happy about that.

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The valuation was music to their ears

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and made all the hard work that went into building

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this stunning home by the sea more than worth it.

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Even now, though we've been living in it a few years,

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you can't quite believe that you've actually done it

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and survived it, and how just wonderful it is to live here.

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Back in North Yorkshire and it's build month one - again.

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Come on, duck!

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And after five months of waiting and one false start,

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Becky and Steve have finally been given permission to begin building

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their six-bed home in a conservation area.

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But the good news has come at a price - the council have attached

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19 planning conditions with which they have to comply,

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including changes to the windows and roof,

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and Becky's budget is now coming under some serious strain.

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Every little thing they've changed has upped my bill, absolutely dramatically scarily.

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You wake up and think, "How much more is it going to cost today?"

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But at this stage, the builder assures me

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there should be no more surprises coming out of the ground,

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the footings are going in, we also know what the council are wanting,

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so hopefully the budget now is as static as I've had it the whole time.

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That's what I'm hoping for.

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Despite the worries over the finances,

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Becky's just relieved work on the new home has finally started

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after so many trials and tribulations.

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It's really emotional, yes.

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It's difficult to be down here today without a massive grin on my face.

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You just feel so excited about it and so happy,

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and there's times when there have been emotional rollercoaster moments

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where you've cried lots of tears of sadness,

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and moments where your stomach's churned and you're so fearful,

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and there's still the fear of how we're going to pay it all back, but we will, it'll be fine.

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Builder Clive Scotter has promised them

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the house will be completed in an ultra quick 16 weeks.

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And after the disaster of slicing through an electricity cable...

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I thought you weren't going to mention that!

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..he's confident he'll be able to deliver.

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Everything's under way, everything's on target,

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we've done it before, it's not a problem,

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it's a dead straightforward brick and block structure.

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The groundworks are in, that's the difficult part over.

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The rest is plain sailing.

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And, for the next few days, the builders fly like the wind on the foundations.

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And by build month two, the size and shape of the house is becoming apparent.

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Watching the house come together's kind of therapeutic,

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because we've been through so much to get to this point,

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just worrying about everything, getting the planning permission,

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it's therapy just by standing there and watching it actually happening.

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It's a house!

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It looks like more than a hole in the ground now, doesn't it?

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And we've got block work on the inside, room divisions, insulation going in...

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It's really looking like a proper house of a sudden.

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It's quite a shock, really.

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Their home might be going up quickly, but their finances are going down just as fast.

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To ensure they can afford to keep building,

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both Becky and Steve have been forced to take desperate measures.

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I'm working at a supermarket 3am until 8am,

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as well as doing my normal day job,

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and Steve's working on an evening delivering pizzas, as well -

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accountant by day, pizza delivery boy by night.

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He comes in after midnight at some nights,

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but he's happy to do it, we're seeing the results now.

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As if two jobs aren't tiring enough,

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Becky's on site every day project-managing the build,

0:19:060:19:09

as well as taking care of her four children.

0:19:090:19:12

Making these sacrifices now is the only way

0:19:120:19:14

they can be sure of realising their dream.

0:19:140:19:17

It is the beginning of build month three,

0:19:200:19:22

and another major milestone is reached on Becky and Steve's new home.

0:19:220:19:27

The first floor is on, and to celebrate,

0:19:270:19:30

Becky arranges a topping out ceremony for the builders.

0:19:300:19:33

Even Steve manages to break off from work to join the party,

0:19:330:19:36

Unsurprisingly it's pizzas all round.

0:19:360:19:40

With the roof beams now in place,

0:19:430:19:45

the priority is to get the house watertight.

0:19:450:19:48

The couple had hoped to get most of the work done in the summer,

0:19:480:19:51

but the delay in the schedule is now having knock-on effects.

0:19:510:19:55

Just a little bit concerned about my floor,

0:19:550:19:58

which is covered with all these drips, since the building isn't watertight yet.

0:19:580:20:02

We've had a load of rain last night.

0:20:020:20:04

Not too happy, but Clive has assured me it'll all get skimmed over.

0:20:040:20:08

I've trusted him on everything up to now and he's not let me down, so I'm sure it'll be fine.

0:20:080:20:12

I'm trying not to look at it today, but it does look a bit... soul-destroying,

0:20:120:20:17

to see all these holes in the fancy screed floor. We've had no rain, you see. We've been really lucky,

0:20:170:20:22

and now, at this late stage, when the roof's nearly on, we're nearly watertight, the rain's coming.

0:20:220:20:28

So let's just hope that's the end of it now and we don't get much more.

0:20:280:20:31

'At least upstairs puts Becky in a much more positive frame of mind.'

0:20:360:20:40

I just love it, and it's just going to be our home.

0:20:410:20:44

And the children love it. They're excited. They talk about their new bedrooms all the time,

0:20:440:20:49

so it's just amazing.

0:20:490:20:50

You look down now and you can just see it all, and I can already see rooms and furniture

0:20:500:20:56

and everything in it the way it's going to be. It's just going to be great.

0:20:560:21:00

Can't wait.

0:21:000:21:02

'So, with this incredibly intense build halfway through,

0:21:120:21:15

'it's time for me to see if this former paddock is turning into a potentially perfect pad.

0:21:150:21:20

'And for once, Steve, who's working around the clock trying to pay for the build,

0:21:200:21:25

'has been able to take a day off to join us.' Well, well, well!

0:21:250:21:28

We do have a house! This is a really nice space, isn't it?

0:21:290:21:33

So, come on - where are we?

0:21:330:21:35

We're in the breakfast bar, between the kitchen and the diner.

0:21:350:21:39

-So you can see it in your head now, can't you?

-Yeah.

0:21:390:21:41

That must be exciting, despite all the problems.

0:21:410:21:44

You don't let them get you down.

0:21:440:21:46

You carry on and you enjoy what you're going to be receiving at the end.

0:21:460:21:50

I can see the excitement on your face.

0:21:500:21:52

I just love being in here. I really, really do.

0:21:520:21:55

You could almost cry sometimes.

0:21:550:21:57

In fact, just when the foundations were coming in, I came down

0:21:570:22:00

and I stood at this corner here, and there were no lads here -

0:22:000:22:04

I like it when there's nobody here because I can wander and not look like an idiot -

0:22:040:22:08

and I just looked around and I suddenly burst into tears.

0:22:080:22:11

We were having a really stressful time and it was like, "Oh my God, this is where we're going to live!"

0:22:110:22:16

Just how lucky we were. So despite all the stress, it was luck, really.

0:22:160:22:20

'With the speed this thing's going up,

0:22:200:22:23

'today's tour is going to be a bit of an eye-opener for Steve, too.'

0:22:230:22:26

-And I don't see it because it's always dark.

-SIMON LAUGHS

0:22:260:22:29

Because of your two jobs. You'll only see it when it's actually finished.

0:22:290:22:33

-Yeah, I'll see the finished object.

-Don't moan - you're seeing it today!

0:22:330:22:37

You've got the chance - let's have a wander round.

0:22:370:22:41

'Downstairs, the couple are planning large, open spaces to cater for their growing family,

0:22:410:22:45

'and their kitchen-dining room will seat more than 20.'

0:22:450:22:49

-So this is the lounge, yeah?

-Yeah.

0:22:490:22:51

And through the other way, you've got the garden room,

0:22:510:22:55

with great big sliding doors so we can open it up or have it separate.

0:22:550:22:59

He thought this room would be small, from the ground. He said, "I'm worried. It's not very big."

0:22:590:23:03

But that is a hard thing to do. It's almost impossible,

0:23:030:23:06

to put a slab into 3D.

0:23:060:23:09

-Yeah.

-But now it IS in 3D,

0:23:090:23:13

-are you happy with your spaces?

-Oh, yeah. Definitely.

0:23:130:23:15

Obviously, that is a lot lighter at that end with the lack of roof,

0:23:150:23:19

but there will be a couple of skylights,

0:23:190:23:21

-so there will be plenty of light.

-You've just got concrete walls.

0:23:210:23:25

Once that's skimmed and everything, it'll brighten up again, and your ceilings,

0:23:250:23:29

so you've got a lovely bright space here. Lots of windows.

0:23:290:23:32

-Have a nose upstairs?

-Yeah, sure. Definitely.

0:23:320:23:35

'And it's here where they've laid out a corridor of six bedrooms

0:23:420:23:45

'so they and their four children can have an bedroom each,

0:23:450:23:48

'with an extra one when guests drop by to stay.'

0:23:480:23:51

Right, upstairs, then. Where are all the lads having a brew?

0:23:530:23:57

-They're having their butties in here. This is our bedroom.

-Your bedroom?

0:23:570:24:01

Fellas, come on! Some respect, please!

0:24:010:24:04

Is this changing quickly as well?

0:24:040:24:07

I'm in shock. This is the first time I've seen this.

0:24:070:24:09

There were no stud walls in yesterday. This was an empty space.

0:24:090:24:12

This is the first time you can see the layout of the first floor?

0:24:120:24:16

-I'm just very, very excited.

-Definitely.

0:24:160:24:19

I think they're bigger than I feared. How fab!

0:24:190:24:22

-And for six bedrooms, and the smallest one isn't even a box.

-Yes.

0:24:220:24:26

-I can't believe it. That's what I'm pleased with.

-They're good sizes.

0:24:260:24:29

Where do we go from here? You're going to be watertight pretty soon.

0:24:290:24:34

The roofer's here today. However long the tiling takes, that'll be done.

0:24:340:24:38

They're starting on that now, which is exciting.

0:24:380:24:41

'For Steve, who's juggling his accountancy job with delivering pizzas,

0:24:410:24:46

'a cosy place to snatch 40 winks can't come soon enough.'

0:24:460:24:50

-You're trying to stay awake, aren't you?

-Yeah.

0:24:500:24:53

We're two contrasting...elements.

0:24:530:24:56

Hyper and...

0:24:560:24:58

-But I can still feel there's excitement here.

-Definitely.

0:24:580:25:01

I just do a good job of hiding it.

0:25:010:25:03

-Steve will be excited when we're living in it.

-Yeah.

0:25:030:25:06

-And you're just beside yourself, aren't you?

-Yeah. It just looks amazing. I'm really pleased.

0:25:060:25:11

All right, well, listen. I'll be back.

0:25:110:25:13

All right? I'll leave the lads to carry on, cos they are going on apace,

0:25:130:25:17

when they finish their tea break in your bedroom!

0:25:170:25:20

-Cheers, guys.

-Thank you.

0:25:220:25:25

'I've never built my own house, but I have renovated a fair few derelict properties in my time

0:25:350:25:40

'and while I consider myself quite handy, it's always worth learning a few new skills.

0:25:400:25:46

'And when it comes to basic DIY, decorating is the one most people are prepared to have a dabble at,

0:25:460:25:52

'so it's on with the overalls and I'm off to see the teacher.'

0:25:520:25:56

-Shaun, paper hanging - easy enough, isn't it?

-Fairly.

0:26:040:26:08

-What do we need?

-Basic paper hanging kit -

0:26:080:26:11

paper-hanging brush for applying the wallpaper, making sure it's smooth.

0:26:110:26:15

-plumb-bob, for making sure the wallpaper's vertical.

-Why use a plumb-bob?

0:26:150:26:19

-Because of the weight on the bottom.

-Because gravity always makes this spot-on.

0:26:190:26:24

-It should ensure the wallpaper's plumb and it'll make your job a whole lot easier.

-OK, right.

0:26:240:26:29

A pair of shears, to ensure the trimming's nice and crisp.

0:26:290:26:33

Crisp? Look at the st...! Come on!

0:26:330:26:36

-We don't want to make it too easy for you.

-Let's see yours.

0:26:360:26:39

Well, mine are nice and clean, and...

0:26:390:26:41

Oh, I see! I see how this works!

0:26:410:26:44

You're making this really fair, aren't you(?)

0:26:440:26:47

What's my challenge?

0:26:470:26:48

Your challenge today is to put a full piece of paper up

0:26:480:26:51

and go round an internal corner,

0:26:510:26:53

keeping them matching as much as you can.

0:26:530:26:55

-We're on for ten minutes, are we?

-Ten minutes?

0:26:550:26:58

Even with my dodgy shears, I reckon I'll give you a run for your money. OK? Here we go.

0:26:580:27:03

-Good luck.

-Yeah, cheers.

0:27:030:27:05

SHAUN LAUGHS

0:27:050:27:06

'It's wall-to-wall, mano-a-mano,

0:27:070:27:10

'and just like my real schooldays, I'm trying to copy.'

0:27:100:27:13

What you doing there?

0:27:150:27:16

I'm just rolling back the paper so it doesn't curl up when I'm pasting.

0:27:160:27:20

Ah! But you've also cut the two pieces at once?

0:27:200:27:23

Yes. Don't be looking for tips!

0:27:230:27:26

Of course I am! What do you think I'm here for?!

0:27:260:27:29

You're just worried, aren't you?

0:27:290:27:32

-Talk paste to me. What do people do wrong?

-Too thin.

0:27:320:27:36

-Oh, right.

-And lumpy. You're better off too thick than too thin.

0:27:360:27:39

Aye, aye!

0:27:390:27:41

-Give us a chance, will you?!

-Come on, soft lad!

-Oh, no!

0:27:410:27:45

Shaun, here's a question for you -

0:27:450:27:48

how do you know where to start decorating in a room?

0:27:480:27:51

It's usually where there's the most natural daylight.

0:27:510:27:54

If there's a big patio door,

0:27:540:27:57

or a big window, you want to start as close to that as possible, then work away from it.

0:27:570:28:01

So basically, start at the focal point and put your pattern where you want it and work out from there.

0:28:010:28:06

'Shaun's already well ahead of me but I've come up with a cunning plan.'

0:28:060:28:11

How's he doing? 'Chatting will slow down his papering.'

0:28:110:28:15

-How long you been decorating, mate? Anything, just to keep him busy.

-Since I was 16-and-a-half.

0:28:150:28:21

'To speed up mine, I'm relying on old pencil marks

0:28:210:28:24

'on the wall, rather than the crucial plumb-line to keep my paper straight.

0:28:240:28:30

'It seems Shaun's got some shortcuts of his own.'

0:28:300:28:33

-What are you doing?!

-Just a little trick of the trade.

0:28:340:28:38

-What little trick of the trade?!

-Just marking my paper, for my internal angle.

0:28:380:28:43

You don't need that! You just bang it on and push it in with a brush. Everyone knows that!

0:28:430:28:48

Just a couple of minutes left!

0:28:500:28:52

-A coup...? What?

-Yep.

-Argh!

0:28:520:28:55

-Oh!

-HE LAUGHS

0:28:550:28:56

I think I'm short on that! Ah, it'll be all right. A bit of patching.

0:28:560:29:00

It's away from the natural light.

0:29:000:29:03

-You've actually cut that into the corner, haven't you?

-Yeah.

0:29:030:29:07

-You should always cut into an internal corner.

-Why?

0:29:070:29:10

To make sure there's no trapped air behind it.

0:29:100:29:13

'Trapped air's always been a problem for me. Anyway, back to the papering.'

0:29:130:29:18

-It looks like you're having fun, there.

-Yeah. This is the old school, this, mate.

0:29:180:29:22

Is it a bit short at the top?

0:29:220:29:24

HE LAUGHS

0:29:240:29:25

The problem was, it's not my measuring that was wrong - your ceiling's too high.

0:29:250:29:29

-Ten more seconds.

-Ten seconds?!

0:29:290:29:33

Five...

0:29:330:29:35

four...

0:29:350:29:36

three, two, one. Time up.

0:29:360:29:40

I'm just allowing for these dodgy shears you gave me.

0:29:400:29:44

'I might have got away with this!'

0:29:440:29:47

-There you go, boss.

-Yeah, that's not bad.

0:29:470:29:49

'Or maybe not.'

0:29:490:29:51

That's what you're going to get when you've trapped an air bubble in.

0:29:530:29:57

'The paper's ripped, thanks to those pesky trapped air bubbles.'

0:29:570:30:00

Whereas, if you look at mine...

0:30:000:30:02

HE MOUTHS

0:30:020:30:03

-The matching isn't half as important as the plumb line.

-Yeah.

0:30:030:30:07

-If this isn't plumb, the rest of your wallpaper's out.

-Yeah.

0:30:070:30:10

-You can afford for the pattern to be slightly out.

-OK.

0:30:100:30:12

That has got to be plumb. Plumb is everything.

0:30:120:30:15

-That's not going to be plumb.

-Yeah.

0:30:150:30:17

That's never going to be plumb in a month of Sundays.

0:30:170:30:21

You can't go round into a corner and keep that plumbness in.

0:30:210:30:24

'It's marks-out-of-ten time, and the writing's on the wall.'

0:30:240:30:29

I'll have to be honest...

0:30:290:30:31

-Four-and-a-half.

-Four-and-a-half?!

0:30:310:30:35

I'm sorry. That's as good as you can get. I'm being generous here, as well.

0:30:350:30:39

Your score...

0:30:410:30:43

is far more cutting than your shears. Thank you very much.

0:30:430:30:48

'Back in North Yorkshire,

0:30:530:30:56

'the snow has settled on the picturesque village of Huntingdon.

0:30:560:31:00

'As the third month of Becky and Steve's build nears an end, their windows are due to be fitted

0:31:000:31:05

'but the big freeze is threatening to put the skids under their plans.

0:31:050:31:09

'The hazardous conditions mean the lane to Becky and Steve's building site

0:31:110:31:15

'is like an ice rink.

0:31:150:31:17

'The driver delivering the windows has battled through the snow

0:31:170:31:20

'but there's only so far he's willing to go.'

0:31:200:31:23

It's too dangerous with the big wagon.

0:31:250:31:27

The scaffolder's offered to bring his van up to put these windows on. It's like solid ice.

0:31:270:31:33

Just lash a rope around the side of them.

0:31:330:31:36

It is just to balance.

0:31:360:31:38

'The windows have been specially chosen to fit in with the other properties in the conservation area,

0:31:380:31:43

'and there is £20,000 worth of glass on here.

0:31:430:31:47

'With the panes now on the smaller van, they ever-so-gently manoeuvre down the icy lane.

0:31:470:31:51

'A slide here could be catastrophic.

0:31:550:31:57

'And the driver inches towards the site.'

0:31:590:32:03

Brilliant. No damage done.

0:32:030:32:06

'However, it seems the builders' careful handling of the windows

0:32:100:32:14

'has been in vain.

0:32:140:32:17

'The first one they inspect is badly damaged.'

0:32:170:32:21

There. There.

0:32:210:32:23

-There.

-It's everywhere, isn't it?

-There.

0:32:230:32:26

It's just everywhere.

0:32:260:32:29

The first window that we've actually come across unwrapped

0:32:290:32:32

is damaged in five places.

0:32:320:32:35

'And precious time is wasted trying to get hold of a replacement.'

0:32:350:32:39

Lovely, thank you. Bye, now. Bye.

0:32:390:32:42

Hello.

0:32:440:32:45

'Despite the freezing conditions,

0:32:470:32:49

'builder Clive and his team are battling the elements to keep

0:32:490:32:53

'Becky's tight 16-week build schedule on track.'

0:32:530:32:56

I feel really bad, cos these builders,

0:32:590:33:02

they've been in, working through all conditions.

0:33:020:33:04

They worked through the rain, but they've been working knee-deep in snow, literally.

0:33:040:33:09

They were digging trenches cos the services are due to go in

0:33:090:33:13

and they just haven't stopped at all.

0:33:130:33:15

'With the house becoming more watertight by the day,

0:33:170:33:20

'the builders can begin to focus on the layout of the space downstairs.

0:33:200:33:25

'For Rebecca and daughter Daisy,

0:33:250:33:27

'the rooms are really starting to come to life.'

0:33:270:33:30

Ooh, Daisy, look, we've got sockets.

0:33:300:33:33

Sort of.

0:33:330:33:34

It's that great big pantry cupboard going in, look.

0:33:340:33:37

-Why do we have a pantry?

-To put all the extra food in.

0:33:390:33:42

When we play hide-and-seek, I'll be looking in there, I warn you.

0:33:420:33:46

'It's build month four and, as soon as the temperature rises,

0:33:530:33:56

'the snow begins to thaw.

0:33:560:33:58

'The finishing work comes out of hibernation, too.

0:34:000:34:03

'First the plasterwork adds to the feeling

0:34:030:34:05

'that this is turning from a building site into a home.

0:34:050:34:09

'Then, there's another boost.'

0:34:090:34:11

Oh! We've got a front door, Daisy.

0:34:110:34:13

Oh, look. Shall we go and have a look?

0:34:130:34:16

'It's a magical moment as Rebecca realises

0:34:160:34:18

'their house is finally secure.'

0:34:180:34:22

REBECCA LAUGHS

0:34:220:34:24

Why is that so exciting? It's only locking a door.

0:34:240:34:28

Wowee!

0:34:280:34:30

Doesn't it look good?

0:34:300:34:32

So, upstairs looks really different. We've got all our plasterboard up.

0:34:320:34:36

I haven't really seen it finished off until now.

0:34:360:34:39

Cos they've just plastered it so fast, it just looks incredible.

0:34:390:34:43

Are you going to show us your room, then, Daisy?

0:34:430:34:46

Here it is, Daisy's room!

0:34:470:34:50

-This is Daisy's room, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:34:500:34:53

'And a few weeks later,

0:34:530:34:55

'when Daisy sees her room painted for the first time,

0:34:550:34:58

'she's still jumping for joy.'

0:34:580:35:00

YEEEEEEESSSSSS!

0:35:000:35:02

'But, though outwardly the Warboys family have something to celebrate,

0:35:060:35:10

'the build has led to some painful friction within the village

0:35:100:35:13

'which has come to as a surprise to Becky.

0:35:130:35:16

'Within eight months of setting out on her journey with excitement...'

0:35:160:35:19

We're in love with it, I've loved it all my life.

0:35:190:35:21

We need to be here, it means so much to me to live here, it really does.

0:35:210:35:26

'..she's having second thoughts about whether her battle with the planners

0:35:260:35:30

'and the disruption it's caused the village has been worthwhile.'

0:35:300:35:34

It's been absolutely awful.

0:35:340:35:36

People have said some really, really dreadful things.

0:35:360:35:39

I just...I can't really understand it.

0:35:390:35:42

People saying the house is monstrous, hideous,

0:35:420:35:45

we should never have been allowed permission.

0:35:450:35:48

I can understand the neighbours feeling it's hard

0:35:480:35:50

and we've tried to be as appeasing to the neighbours as we can be

0:35:500:35:54

but it's making me feel vulnerable when I'm down there

0:35:540:35:57

because it's all opened up.

0:35:570:35:58

You feel like people are looking at you and thinking not very nice things about you,

0:35:580:36:03

which is just really, really awful.

0:36:030:36:05

The sad thing is, I've lived here for, you know,

0:36:050:36:09

the vast, vast majority of my life, since I was a little girl.

0:36:090:36:12

And I love that piece of land and I love the plot and I love the village.

0:36:120:36:16

And it made me, the other day, think,

0:36:160:36:18

"Do I really want to actually live in it? After all we've done."

0:36:180:36:22

'All Becky can do now is get the house finished

0:36:220:36:25

'and hope the storm over their new home will eventually blow over.

0:36:250:36:28

'Two months later and I'm back in Huntington

0:36:320:36:34

'to find out if the troubled waters at Riverside House

0:36:340:36:37

'are at last starting to subside.

0:36:370:36:39

'From the outside, the house looks magnificent.

0:36:410:36:45

'There's no doubt they've achieved their aim

0:36:450:36:47

'of making sure it fits into the rural village mould.

0:36:470:36:50

'But to build all this and move in in just over four months?

0:36:520:36:55

'Surely it's too good to be true.'

0:36:550:36:58

-Hello, hello, hello.

-Come on in, nice to see you.

0:36:580:37:02

-I cannot believe this is finished, it's unbelievable.

-Thank you.

0:37:020:37:07

'Not only is the house finished,

0:37:100:37:12

'it's almost completely furnished inside.

0:37:120:37:15

'There's a sense this is already a functioning family home,

0:37:150:37:18

'quickly developing a history of its own.'

0:37:180:37:22

This is absolutely brilliant!

0:37:220:37:24

Good for entertaining, good for the kids.

0:37:240:37:27

'The kitchen is a huge communal space, flooded with light.

0:37:270:37:32

'Becky wanted a room which could safely seat 20

0:37:320:37:35

'and this is certainly a massive contrast from the cramped cottage they left behind.'

0:37:350:37:39

There's just space, we can both move around the kitchen.

0:37:390:37:43

It was strange the first time we sat the kids down there.

0:37:430:37:45

I was over there, I thought, "They're all the way over there!"

0:37:450:37:48

It was so nice.

0:37:480:37:49

You get used to the space, though, you get used to it very quickly.

0:37:490:37:53

-But we love it, don't we?

-I bet you love it.

0:37:530:37:55

This is it just an absolutely brilliant space. Favourite room? Do you think this would be it, or...

0:37:550:38:00

Do you know, I've got all of my rooms in the whole house.

0:38:000:38:04

-I'm excited to see some more. Can we?

-Definitely, this way.

0:38:040:38:08

'Downstairs, all the rooms are huge.

0:38:090:38:13

'The living room is split into two distinct areas,

0:38:130:38:15

'linked by a retractable door.'

0:38:150:38:17

We wanted somewhere nice to sit just to chill out and relax,

0:38:170:38:21

-so we had the garden room.

-Yeah.

0:38:210:38:22

And somewhere nice and large for everybody to sit, relax and watch telly together.

0:38:220:38:27

It's large, it's a massive room,

0:38:270:38:28

but I guess, with the doors closed, it must feel quite cosy, as well.

0:38:280:38:32

It feels a lot cosier. It's quite dark in there,

0:38:320:38:35

it's like a little cosy cave feeling in there, isn't it? It's lovely.

0:38:350:38:38

Then this room is a contrast,

0:38:380:38:40

-cos you've got quite a dark room and a bright room.

-You're just beaming.

0:38:400:38:45

-You can't believe it.

-Love it, it's just the dream.

0:38:450:38:47

You build a house and it was more building the lifestyle for us, wasn't it?

0:38:470:38:51

This has been the dream for such a long time, five years,

0:38:510:38:55

and we're just so grateful to finally be here, really, definitely.

0:38:550:38:59

It's everything we hoped it would be.

0:38:590:39:01

'With four young children,

0:39:010:39:02

'Steve and Becky's main motivation for self-building

0:39:020:39:05

'was to get a house with more bedrooms.

0:39:050:39:08

'This has six, and their three daughters are jumping for joy.'

0:39:080:39:13

Is it OK if I come and look round your bedrooms?

0:39:130:39:15

-ALL: YEAH!

-Yeah!

0:39:150:39:17

Let's have a look around your bedrooms.

0:39:170:39:20

Come on, let's have a look. Here we go.

0:39:200:39:22

THE GIRLS GIGGLE

0:39:220:39:24

Wow! Look at your room.

0:39:240:39:28

Daisy, what do you like about your room?

0:39:290:39:32

-Flowers.

-Fantastic!

0:39:320:39:34

'All the girls' bedrooms continue with the pink theme.'

0:39:340:39:38

So, girls, do we love our new house?

0:39:390:39:42

YES!

0:39:420:39:44

'Becky and Steve love it up here, too.

0:39:450:39:47

'Their spacious bedroom comes with an en-suite bathroom

0:39:470:39:51

'and, in addition to a house bathroom, there's an extra bedroom for guests.

0:39:510:39:55

'For the Warboys, the house is clearly working both inside and out.

0:39:570:40:00

'But the build has definitely left them with one or two scars.'

0:40:000:40:04

In all seriousness...

0:40:040:40:05

..you kind of had, how can I put this,

0:40:080:40:11

mixed reactions along the way from the community.

0:40:110:40:14

-How has that process been?

-That stress has been the worst part of it.

0:40:140:40:19

I don't want to get emotional on-camera

0:40:190:40:22

but I didn't expect the hatred that I feel has been thrown at us about having a house built.

0:40:220:40:27

You know, the direct neighbours,

0:40:270:40:28

we all talked about our concerns

0:40:280:40:31

and everybody seems to have been grateful.

0:40:310:40:33

'Sadly, some passers-by haven't been as complimentary about the Warboys' new home.'

0:40:330:40:37

People have been saying to the builders it's the most

0:40:370:40:40

ugly house they've ever seen in their lives and, you know,

0:40:400:40:43

just like we're trying to harm people by building.

0:40:430:40:46

Was there a time when you thought, "You know, let's just forget this"?

0:40:460:40:49

I've always gone through it, as in,

0:40:490:40:52

it's going to be worth it in the end and people will move on,

0:40:520:40:56

things will change, and, looking at what we have now,

0:40:560:40:59

we're extremely happy with what we've done and glad we went through it.

0:40:590:41:03

-Proud, proud of ourselves for putting up with the comments.

-Just what we've achieved, really.

0:41:030:41:08

'But while that might take the edge of their dream,

0:41:080:41:12

'has building made firm financial sense for the family?

0:41:120:41:14

'The total build cost, including the plot, has come in at £305,000.

0:41:140:41:20

'That's 30 grand over their original budget.

0:41:200:41:22

'But what price would an estate agent put on the finished home?'

0:41:220:41:27

We've had this place valued.

0:41:270:41:29

And its current market value is around £500,000.

0:41:290:41:35

That's rather nice, isn't it?

0:41:350:41:39

Not bad.

0:41:390:41:40

-That's more than we'd been told, yeah.

-It is, yeah.

0:41:400:41:43

That's nice, that's really nice. Not bad, is it?

0:41:430:41:45

Not bad for a four-month build.

0:41:450:41:47

But it's not about the money for us,

0:41:470:41:49

it was about the lifestyle.

0:41:490:41:52

But the fact that you haven't made a stupid investment on top of that

0:41:520:41:55

is really, really helpful.

0:41:550:41:58

We've definitely done it, we've changed our lifestyle, haven't we?

0:41:580:42:01

We didn't do it for the money, we did it for the family.

0:42:010:42:04

As well as being a massive money saver, it's also a record breaker.

0:42:040:42:09

From foundations to finishing touches in 17 weeks

0:42:090:42:11

makes it To Build Or Not To Build's quickest construction

0:42:110:42:16

and that deserves its own award.

0:42:160:42:18

There you go, that's just a little keepsake.

0:42:180:42:20

-Fastest Finisher Award.

-Oh, my gosh! That's amazing!

0:42:200:42:25

Your solid brick house.

0:42:250:42:27

Aw, I'm going to cry! I never win anything.

0:42:270:42:32

And testament to your hard work and your builders' hard work, really.

0:42:320:42:36

Well, we shall cherish our brick.

0:42:360:42:38

I can't tell you how much I admire your work.

0:42:380:42:42

-'But was it worth it?'

-I wouldn't do it again, not in a million years.

0:42:420:42:46

-Well, we don't want to move so there's no reason to do it again.

-I'd do it again to get this house.

0:42:460:42:51

What doesn't break you makes you stronger.

0:42:510:42:53

In that case, you must be very strong indeed now.

0:42:530:42:56

You proud of yourself? You should be.

0:42:560:42:58

I feel proud of us, I think it's been teamwork.

0:42:580:43:00

Definitely, although you've made the team leader, shall we say?

0:43:000:43:04

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:220:43:24

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:240:43:27

Presenter Simon O'Brien meets Becky and Steve Warboys as they battle against the planners, the weather and the views of the villagers to build their dream family home in York. Plus a look at how the seaside location shaped the design of a Devonshire self-build, and Simon comes unstuck while learning how to wallpaper at building college.


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