February 2022

Welcome to the February edition of i-Build magazine! This issue is packed with inspirational projects and products as well as useful advice for your self-build.


The housing ladder has always been one for fluctuation; rising and falling as it pleases, while everyone keeps a sharp eye on its next move. However, house prices only seem to be travelling in one direction of late, and that’s up. And things don’t look set to improve anytime soon for potential buyers. Which? recently reported that experts have predicted that house prices will continue this upward trajectory throughout the year due to a lack of new properties coming onto the market. And they’re not wrong. Just look at your local estate agents’ listings or hop online and head to Zoopla or Rightmove. Not only are listings sparse, but prices are through the roof, leaving little hope for first-time buyers and others looking to upsize. Of course, coronavirus’ impact on the economy, the Government’s Stamp Duty holiday and an imbalance between supply and demand are just a few of the challenges that have led to this domino effect.

Despite all this turmoil, some sincerely inspiring self-build and conversion stories are still developing, and one exceptionally motivating project was built in just 22 weeks. When 28-year-old Patsy Parr of Staffordshire started to look for a new home, she faced pages of properties that were entirely out of her price range. Having grown up in the village of Kinver, she wanted to remain close to home, and a morning run with her stepfather made that dream a reality. After coming across the plot during her daily exercise, she discovered that it was available and, due to the chances of securing planning permission being deemed “very unlikely”, the best news was that it was affordable. Turn to page 24 to read about Patsy’s award-winning home.

And Patsy’s not the only homeowner in this month’s issue that has strived to move into a property that’s closely linked to her childhood. Fiona Smedley’s father bought a cluster of Grade II Listed barns and a farmhouse in the 1980s and ran the site as an active farm until he retired in 2017. Having inherited the granary, Fiona and her husband, John, have transformed the property into a light-filled, unique and rustic home across two years. As she’s grown up on the farm, the granary has played a significant role in Fiona’s life and, as the Builder, Ken, explains, the site still had “old farming machinery, cow partitioning and even had ducks and chickens living in a part of it” when it came to starting the project. Turn to page 12 of this month’s issue to discover how the Smedleys brought this old family building back to life.


Rebecca Kemp