The stone pile

In the beginning was a rock-pile.

This is the remains of the previous Redhall & Redhall Cottage which had to be moved as the stone had been dumped right where we wanted to build..

We didn't flatten it.

If we had been the initial buyers, we'd have used the previous house as the core of our home but this stone pile was all that remained of Redhall and Redhall cottage when we bought the land.

We've used the stone wherever possible for walls, raised beds, steps and stepping stones so that the original cottages still exist in some sense.

When we started the project, our architect told us that self-building was the second most common cause of suicide. The most common cause was break-up of marriage, but one of the causes of marriage splits was self-build projects!

 However, we made it! 

The points made below and on the following pages are things we didn't find in the self-build books.

We built Redhall ourselves in order to maximise the quality of the house we have for the money available and not from any idealistic sense of doing our own thing. i.e. we had no problem with hiring tradesmen when required.

So, we didn't try to do it all.

We knew our limitations and bought in labour for those areas where we had had little DIY experience and where mistakes would be costly. One such area was brick/block-laying so we didn't build the foundations but the drains are mine!

The other time to buy in labour is near the end of the project.

You've drawn all the money from your bridging loan so the interest is at its maximum and it can be more economic to pay someone to do a job you could do yourself either because they can do it more quickly or to free you up for other work where a tradesman would be more expensive or where you can do a better job!

The drains

We had originally intended to build a standard kit house.

When we contacted a firm of architects to oversee our interests at the various stages of construction, they asked if we would let them quote for a custom design and, when we said we couldn't afford the fee, (at that time ~10% of an unknown total cost), they offered to do it for a fixed fee which we were able to afford.