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Part 1 – Gary King’s Self Build journey – Written by Gary King

As a freelance writer specialising in adventure sport and travel I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs over the years. I’ve raced to the North Pole in sub zero temperatures, been chased by an orangutan in a Sumatran Jungle and have leapt off a 900 foot dam in Switzerland attached to a giant bungee. In short I like things that raise the heartbeat and tickle the senses.


I’m of the opinion that with a little bit of invention and a big dash of enthusiasm most things are possible. It was with this in mind that my fiancé and I went in search of our dream home. We scoured property websites, signed up to estate agents’ mailing lists and even posted leaflets through the doors of a street of houses that we found particularly des res.

Everything that we looked at was either;

1. Renovated to the max – cheap kitchens, shiny laminated floors and garish colour schemes.
2. 1970s décor combined with a wildly optimistic asking price.
3. Too small.
4. No garden.
5. In the wrong location.

After six months of fruitless searching we happened across a property in Ruddington in Nottinghamshire. This charming village has good local shops, excellent amenities and a seemingly disproportionate numbers of pubs to its population – always a good sign.

From the second we walked in the front door and were hit by an aroma somewhere between a public toilet and a fetid dustbin, the mouldy walls and damp floor did their utmost to mask the house’s true potential. It was only after a couple months of deliberation and haggling with the vendor that we came round to the view that this might be The One. We would undertake a self build.

It may have been falling apart at the seams but it did have;

1. Three double bedrooms.
2. Potential for a loft conversion.
3. Off street parking.
4. A large garden.
5. An outhouse.

It was essentially a blank canvas and like all blank canvasses needed an awful lot of work to turn it into a work of art. We could restore this Edwardian end terrace back to its former glory and in doing so would create somewhere that we’d be able to call home.

We made an offer. It was duly accepted. We now are the proud owners of some bricks and mortar that, as they say in the trade, “is in need of modernisation.”

If this self build project doesn’t have the potential to raise the heart beat and tickle the senses then I don’t know what has. Let the journey begin.