This oak barn in Herefordshire is a wonderful place to spend Christmas

A couple of seasoned self builders have created a beautiful oak framed home for their family

With its mellow weatherboarded façade, red tiled roof and grey-green woodwork, this cosy oak-framed home couldn’t be a more welcoming spot to spend 
the festive season, especially as the owners built the property themselves with the help of their family.

Taking on a self-build is a brave move, but it was always the preferred option for the couple as his father worked in the building trade for more than 40 years. ‘My in-laws built their own home when Steven was a child,’ says Wendy. ‘So the idea of buying land 
to do a self-build was imprinted in his DNA.’

Read real-life decorating stories in our real homes section

In fact, Steven’s parents had already helped the couple build their previous home – a two-bedroomed lime-rendered cottage – and pitched in with this one, too. ‘When I became pregnant with our second daughter, we decided to build a bigger home 
as we’d outgrown the cottage. We moved into a rented house while we looked for land,’ says the owner.

Then a plot came up via Border Oak, with planning approval already in place for a weatherboarded barn. ‘It was the right location and the right sort of house 
for us,’ says the owner. ‘The plot had somehow slipped through other interested buyers’ hands for two years but it was perfect timing for us. It’s also a huge 
amount of work getting planning permission, so 
the fact that it already had it in place was a big plus.’

Exterior

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Image credit: Polly Eltes

The couple had also used Border Oak as 
the supplier for their previous self-build. ‘I love the marriage of traditional building methods and modern technology that you get with Border Oak houses – it’s the best of both worlds.’

They were able 
to make some small changes to the original plans, 
such as moving the dining room from its original central location to the end of the kitchen and removing the downstairs doors to create an open-plan feel.

They took on the majority of the build themselves, subcontracting some specialist skills and using the Border Oak team to set up the oak frame and complete the watertight shell. Structural insulated panels, 
along with underfloor heating downstairs, ensure 
the house is always warm and toasty.

Hallway

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Image credit: Polly Eltes

When it came to the interior, the owner plumped 
for a neutral backdrop. ‘I’m a bright white girl,’ she 
says. ‘I like white walls mixed with natural textures 
– that way the home can speak for itself.’

Simple decorations add a festive touch.

Get the look
Buy now: Oak peg rail, £38, Baileys
Buy now: Walls painted in Pure Brilliant White by Dulux, £22 for 10ltrs, B&Q

Kitchen-diner

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Image credit: Polly Eltes

Despite being a new build, the house has an older, country feel thanks to its rustic beams and Shaker cabinetry.

‘Because 
we’ve done back-to-back self-builds, we weren’t so hard on ourselves with the interior of this one. I’ve 
paid homage to British classics – we have a Shaker kitchen, heritage colours, blacksmith ironmongery, wool carpets and natural oak flooring.’

‘I also paid 
a lot of attention to the taps – they’re the jewellery 
of your home so I spend more on them.’

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Image credit: Polly Eltes

The American-born owner wanted to recreate the type of open-plan layout she grew up with.

Get the look
Buy now: Camargue Solid Oak Dining Chair – Burnt Oak, £195 each, Oka
Buy now: Aged copper pendant ceiling lights, £175 each, Baileys

Utility room

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Image credit: Polly Eltes

Having this extra space means the owners can keep seasonal crafting out 
of the kitchen.

Living room

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Image credit: Polly Eltes

The owner has added interest to the monochrome sofas with stylish pattern, while warm wood and a leather pouffe create a cosy feel.

Get the look
Buy now: Milan cushions on grey sofa, £59.95, Bronte by Moon
Buy now: Real Christmas tree, from a selection, Pines and Needles

Master bedroom

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Image credit: Polly Eltes

A neutral scheme can be instantly warmed up with 
a few throws and cushions.

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Image credit: Polly Eltes

Child’s bedroom

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Image credit: Polly Eltes

A wrought-iron bed, Christmas lights and pretty bunting contribute to the fairy-tale 
feel.

The house has proved perfect for bringing up 
a family. ‘It’s a great home for the girls,’ says Wendy. ‘The village school is only a five-minute walk away 
and we have a nature reserve, lake and two pubs within strolling distance. With the woods behind us and fields of cows as our morning view, it makes us feel that we are raising the children in a pure and simple way.’

Ready for another? Step inside an extended four-bedroom Edwardian house, all dressed up for Christmas

Picturesque surroundings and plenty of guest space mean the house works particularly well at Christmas and New Year. ‘I like to create little arrangements, such as festive floral displays, and we have evergreen trees all around us so I line the windows with foliage from our garden,’ says Wendy. ‘Last year, with my American family and my in-laws, we had 12 visitors in total. We decorated at the back with Christmas lights and had open fires in the garden’.

‘We put an extra table in the dining space to accommodate everyone for Christmas dinner and then we all went to the local pub afterwards!’

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