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The Top 5 Most Amazing Self-Built Homes

One of the reasons going down the self-build route is so popular is the sheer freedom of expression it allows. And across the world, ambitious self-builders haven't disappointed, producing some unbelievable homes with their own two hands.

In this post, we'll explore some of the finest self-build projects from around the world and hopefully offer you some inspiration for your own venture.

  1. Ship-shape container home

In 2012, 29-year-old Joseph Dupuis from Canada decided to take advantage of the inherent strength and stability afforded by shipping containers to create a unique home on a shoestring budget.

Built among picturesque woodlands, the sturdy structures were outfitted with a unique heating and cooling system to fend off the harsh Canadian winter and energy is supplied through roof-mounted solar panels.

With each container costing just over $3,000 (around £2,000) – he was able to put together the whole project for less than $20,000 and it gained widespread fame when a friend posted pictures to Reddit.

According to his last project update, Joseph sought to add another container with a unique glass ceiling as a second-storey bedroom.

  1. Low-cost timber frame

A much more conventional option, this timber-framed property in Shropshire won Best Self Build in the 2014 Build It awards.

This was a labour of love by Hannah Jones and Theo Hodnett, a couple who had wanted to move in together for some time but simply couldn't afford the prices of dwellings on the local market.

Fortunately, Shropshire Council boasts a long-running scheme to encourage self-build and the pair were keen to take advantage.

They were able to pool their resources, do as much of the work as possible themselves and construct a fantastic property for a mere £122,500.

The couple managed to eke out as much energy efficiency as possible, using a ground source heat pump and underfloor heating to cut money on bills. Going forward, they're looking to install solar panels to make the home as self-sufficient as possible.

Despite these ultra-modern features, the home's aesthetics are highly traditional. The exposed oak beams are purely decorative, while the flooring, skirting and doors are all done in a neutral colour pallet.

  1. Island in the stream

Since 1992, Canadian couple Wayne Adams and Catherine King have been putting together a self-sufficient island in the heart of British Columbia.

Dubbed 'Freedom Cove' – the structure consists of 12 floating platforms that include half an acre's worth of land for crop growing, five greenhouses, a guest lighthouse, art gallery and even a dance floor.

Water is sourced from rainfall during the rainy winters, while a waterfall across the bay supplies all they need in the summer. Electricity is generated via solar panels and photovoltaic energy generators and the greenhouses produce more than enough food for the couple all year round.

As you'd expect, there's also plentiful fishing on offer and the couple used to have a hen house, although this had to be abandoned due to growing attention from predatory sea animals.


Specialists in Structural Defects

  1. Jacob's Ladder

Named after the proverbial stairway to heaven, this breathtaking home was designed by professional architect Niall McLaughlin and has received overwhelming accolades.

The property received an award from the Royal Institute of British Architects and was also revealed as Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud's favourite building from the series.

Built on a steep hill in Oxfordshire, it boasts four bedrooms, an indoor pool and is surrounded by acres of picturesque forest. Its design incorporates masses of glass and the cedar decking used throughout fits in perfectly with the building's surroundings.

Jacob's Ladder is currently on the market for more than £2 million.

  1. Inverdart Boathouse

This multi-award winning property mimics the layout of a castle, clinging to a cliff face above the River Dart in Devon.

Costing well over £2 million and taking 10 years to construct, the Boathouse was a labour of love from David and Annette Southwick.

David worked in collaborating with a local architecture firm, but the designs were subject to several changes due to practical – and planning-related – problems.

The building boasts four floors and comes complete with a swimming pool, terrace, cinema room and a harbour is in the process of being constructed.

Despite starting work on the build in 1999, the Southwicks weren't able to move in until 2011, however, I think we can all agree – it's been well worth it.


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