How (not) to build a house – part 2

moodboard house

Our house build is storming ahead and I think I may now be allowing myself to get quite excited about it! After years of torture from our local council (see part 1), I had lost the ability to feel anything but stress about this building.

July the 15th 2021 was an exciting day for us. At long last the diggers were allowed to come and demolish the old shed that was on our site. They’d been on standby for six months waiting for the final piece of planning to be granted before they could break any ground.

But the anxiety was by no means over yet!

We hadn’t got a mortgage in place to pay for the build, as no lender would consider it until planning was granted. Our advisor assured us that securing one would be no problem at all. So for fear of losing the builders we got them started anyway, praying that we would have enough in savings to tide us over for a couple of months, until the ‘easy to get’ mortgage was secured. I am sure you can guess where this is heading…  

The first building society took a full two months to decide not to lend to us because the build was ‘next to a commercial property’ erm… yes my studio?

The next lender said no because the entrance was down a driveway… what?! How is that bad? And so it went on months slipping by… My poor husband was getting so stressed at this point he wasn’t sleeping at all.

stanley new house

Stanley inspecting the new house build

So it went on with months slipping by. We took as much money as we could out of my business, and then borrowed all our parents’ savings. It was all getting seriously dicey.

Finally, we got the good news that a local business bank was willing to lend to us. Hurrah! The lovely manager came to meet us and looked at the site and assured us it would all be plain sailing. So we filled out form after form with so much onerous detail they practically wanted to know what Stanley had for breakfast.

We waited for the Archbishop of Canterbury and then the Queen to sign it off and after four more months of waiting the money finally arrived in our account in February – eight months after starting.

Anyway, on a positive note our builders have been nothing short of AMAZING.


It is utterly fascinating watching the house be built. The insulation alone is about a foot thick, and we will be using a ground source heat pump for the underfloor heating. They have now put down the screed and switched the heating on to dry the concrete and all the neighbourhood cats have come to lie down on it.

house in progress

Now I am finally able to focus on the fun part and start making decorating decisions. We visited four different yards to pick out slabs for the island and kitchen worktops. I have always adored natural stone. I love how each piece is unique, like a beautiful work of art. Here are a couple of slabs that we are deciding between.

What do you think? Once we’ve decided, I shall choose the flooring.

It has been a really tough task picking a colour scheme as I am so fickle and love a palette one day and move on to another the next. I am definitely a warm colour person, so am veering towards pinks and earthy tones to soften the exterior of slate and zinc as shown on the moodboard at the top of this post.

Stay tuned for part 3 which will be all about the fun stuff and no more moaning I promise!

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