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Part 2 – Gary King’s Self Build journey continues – Written by Gary King

A challenge. That’s what we shall call this self build project.

I’d like to say that nothing is ever as bad as it seems but now that we have the keys to our new property and are able to wander from room to room at a leisurely pace soaking up its true ambiance, I must admit to something approaching trepidation.


From the gargantuan pampas grass in the front garden to the mould clinging to corners to the damp that spreads like a bruise across sticky walls every last nook and cranny of our new property reeks of dilapidation. As I pace the floors stepping over the previous owner’s detritus, the wind howls through broken windows and I’m suddenly aware of the magnitude of the job in hand.

It was whilst mulling over how blind optimism can quickly turn into stark realisation that I was introduced to Jewson Self Build. As I waxed lyrical to a friend in the pub, who also happens to be a seasoned property developer, he mentioned that Jewson have a Self Build division and perhaps that would be a good place to start.

He’d heard good things. What had I got lose? Certainly no more sleep, that’s for sure.

Gary King’s partner Laura Warren shares her self build story

I have no background in buying and selling houses or renovating any kind of property at all. I owned my own house and lived on my own before meeting Gary and all I’d ever done in respect of DIY was to pay a man to replace the shower!

We had been looking at houses for months but hadn’t found anywhere that met our criteria for the right price. Everywhere that had already been ‘done up’ was not to our taste, or out of our budget, and houses that only needed basic changes were also priced too high.

We wanted to live in a fairly specific area but as the prices are relatively expensive in this area finding a property that needed a lot doing to it meant we could purchase somewhere at a decent price. We could spend some other money on renovating and then end up with a house that was worth more than what we had invested. That’s the theory anyway – it remains to be seen what will happen!

The house scared the life out of me when I first saw it and I swung the other way initially – wanting to buy somewhere that was finished and ready to move into as the task ahead seemed too big to tackle. As I viewed the property every crack meant subsidence and every bit of mould meant rot.

Everything, and I mean everything appeared to me to need replacing. The time-scale and money necessary to get it done just seemed too large.

We’re not a pair of architects living the Grand Designs’ dream; we’re just a normal couple with a limited budget.

Anyway, it’s too late to go back now. We’ve already got the keys.