Autumn 2019


There’s no doubt that nowadays our homes need to pull their weight a lot more than they used to. They need to play their part in combating climate change (p.10) and at a practical level work for all age groups, from the boomerang kids to elderly parents.

On p.68 you’ll get an overview of what it takes to add a ‘granny flat’ – a somewhat archaic term that seems to have stuck for its emotive overtones. Intergenerational living is what it’s all about.

We have plenty of examples too: from a son who renovated his parents’ farmhouse to build next door to them in the countryside (p.20), to an urban downsizing project that caters to grown children visiting (p.44). With a few more adaptation projects starting p.69.

Lastly, a word of caution: whether you’re building new or undergoing a major renovation, remember that a contract is just as necessary as insurance – find out more on p.90.

With Selfbuild. Dream it. Do it. Live it.





Co-living – Alan Campbell of Co Derry first renovated his in-laws’ farmhouse, and then built his own family home right beside it.

Long distance relationship – How Denis McNamara managed to build himself his dream home in Co Meath while living in London.

Garden party – Pauline Millar relished the challenge of downsizing to a semi-detached house in Belfast, bringing with her 17 years of expertise working as an estate agent.

Rejuvenation – Claire Watts’ renovation and extension project involved replacing all the walls except the façade.

The big move – Steven Bell bought his parents’ house to live in, on the condition he’d build them an extension with independent access.

Support group – Two of our favourite self-build instagrammers, one in Co Tipperary the other in Co Down, share what it’s been like building their dream homes while holding down day jobs.



Building with oak – How to build your entire house, or parts of it, with this natural and timeless material.

The softer sides of choosing your site – All the questions you need to ask yourself before buying the perfect site to build on.

Stock and trade – The most straightforward way to source materials for your self-build is to buy them from your local builder’s merchant; here’s how they operate.

Iron clad – When hiring a main contractor, it is in your best interest to sign a contract. Find out how easy it is to do, and what they’re about.

Spark your imagination – An overview of where to start with your lighting plan.

Wood flooring – Where they come from, how they’re made, how much they cost and how to keep them looking new.



The rise of the granny flat – The quick guide to adding living space to your existing house for an older or younger generation.

How much will your floors cost? – The third instalment in our budget series, we look at the upper storey.

New versus conventional technology – If your boiler needs to be replaced, the energy efficiency of your house will have a lot to do with your decision to replace it or upgrade to a heat pump.

Sustainable boundaries – Hedges are the most cost effective and eco-friendly way to mark out your boundaries; find out how to plant them.

The B word – A book review of Bungalow Bliss Bias and the larger phenomenon of rural one-off housing.

Ask the expert – Your self-build questions answered.

Scrapbook – Inspiration to embrace plant life indoors.


Inside Track

INSIDER NEWS – Latest products and services for self-builders.

How to mix cement – Irish Cement demystifies what it takes to mix cement with a new series of how-to videos.

Renovating with hemp – Homes made of stone or brick tend to require breathable materials if they’re to undergo an energy upgrade; find out how HempBuild is servicing this market with its range of hemp-lime products.


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