Scandia-Hus Case Studies -

Self Build Runs in the Family

When Emma’s parents were offered a parcel of land at a low price by a housing developer in 1978, they seized the opportunity. The plot size was suitable for one house only, so ideal for a self-build. Emma’s mother is Norwegian and so on discovering Scandia-Hus and their Scandinavian style, the designs instantly appealed. The light-filled homes with triple glazing and high levels of insulation attracted them, along with the value for money that Scandia offered.

Only 5 years old when the build began, Emma has memories of being jealous of her younger sister who hadn’t yet started school and was therefore able to spend days on the building site with her parents. A thrilling experience for a child! Emma was able to visit at weekends and sometimes after school, and she remembers the enormous sense of excitement at what her parents were trying to achieve.

Bespoke Self Build Home

Although she does also recall panicked moments with the builders; Emma’s parents had chosen a company who were not familiar with Swedish timber frame construction and so they were essentially learning on the job. The house was rapidly erected, but there seemed to be quite a few materials that had been left behind which the builders had not worked out what to do with!

Emma’s entire family adored the house, and they still remember the sense of space, light and warmth. Emma recollects how it was fantastic for entertaining, friends and family admired their new home, having never seen anything like it, and loved coming to visit.

Timber Kit Home

Having grown up in a Scandia home Emma knew that she wanted to provide the same experience for her own family when the time came. Nothing could compare to the high build quality of a Scandia-Hus, other properties in contrast seemed badly insulated and dark.

When Emma met and married Gary, who also had an interest in self-build, it was fortunate timing that a Scandia-Hus came onto the market when they were searching for a home. They purchased the property and lived in it for about 7 years, allowing Gary time to appreciate the benefits that Emma had described.

Bespoke Timber Home

The couple were both from East Sussex and wanted to remain in the area but finding land to build their own Scandia-Hus proved challenging. Emma and Gary would write letters and drop them through peoples’ doors to enquire whether the owners were willing to divide and sell part of their garden, or if the house was rundown, whether the couple could buy the property. They finally found a dilapidated bungalow for sale on a good-sized plot. Initially, their offer wasn’t accepted but the original buyers pulled out of the sale, and they were next in line.

Situated in the South Downs National Park, it’s an idyllic setting. On the edge of a popular and picturesque village, close to open fields and woodland, whilst also being near the bustling city of Brighton with good transport links to London, it’s the ideal place to settle and bring up children.

Bespoke Timber Frame Home

Positioned in the National Park as they were, Emma knew she would have to understand the local policy landscape before submitting an application for a replacement dwelling. So she studied the system, examined village planning statements and analysed recent applications trying to understand why they were either being granted permission or being rejected.

As a result of her hard work, the planning process didn’t take too long, although it felt like a lifetime to the family as it was so important to them and their future. The application received a few unfounded objections and so had to go to committee. However, the opposers didn’t know the local planning policies as well as Emma, and their oppositions were soon dismissed. Thankfully the local authority were forward thinking and environmentally focused, so fully supported the couple’s plans of replacing the original inefficient structure with a sustainable timber frame home benefitting from superior eco-credentials. 

Contemporary Front Door Design

Once the family received approval, they put most of their belongings in storage and erected temporary accommodation in the form of a cabin in the garden enabling them to stay close to the build as well as save money. Demolition and groundworks could begin. The couple project managed the build alongside their main carpenter, an experienced craftsman who was able to advise and recommend local sub-contractors that were well-known to him.

The build was progressing well when in March 2020, 6 months into the project, the UK went into lockdown. The family were living in the cabin whilst their new home was being constructed, and the pandemic meant that all four of them were working and studying together in the tiny space. Emma and Gary had the foresight to pre-order materials and had them delivered to site when it became clear that the government were likely to lockdown the country. This enabled them to continue with one tradesperson at a time working safely on the build.

Stylish Grey Kitchen

In June 2020 the project was complete, and the family were able to move into their bespoke Scandia home. The contemporary entrance welcomes you into the open plan kitchen / dining / living area, behind which is a snug that additionally serves as Emma’s home office and could be easily utilised as an accessible fifth bedroom if ever needed. The ground floor also features a shower room, utility, and larder. On the first floor, there’s Emma and Gary’s master bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe and ensuite, along with three further bedrooms served by a family bathroom.

The house incorporates a smart automation system, which controls the LED lights, sound, security alarm, smoke alarms, access through electronic gates, underfloor heating, and electric blinds, as well as integrating with the photovoltaic panels, air source heat pump and mechanical ventilation unit.

Looking back at their time self-building, the couple agree that the best part was the end result. Living in a design that they created themselves to suit their specific needs has been rewarding. They praise the Scandia team for working with them and guiding them throughout the process, making it understandable and enjoyable. Now Emma can bring up her own family in a spacious, light, and warm home, just as her parents did.