Summer 2019


It’s not every day that a feel-good story is splashed all over the news, but that’s exactly what a humble cottage in Co Galway managed to do when it burned down and an entire community came together to rebuild it in true meithal style. 

The result is a four-week self-build using traditional blockwork construction – see page 70 for our version of events. 

Still no news unfortunately on the locals only front; a planning restriction self-builders in ROI have been coming up against in rural areas. The Department of Housing press office told us that no meetings were scheduled for the working group “at present due to other pressing business commitments”. But fear not, the meetings will resume “as soon as possible”. We’ve been waiting over a decade at this stage (see what fellow self-builders have to say about it on page 128). 

And for those who haven’t heard yet, we’re excited to announce the launch of The Selfbuild Podcast which showcases expert advice and self-build experiences from homeowners. You can listen on iTunes, Spotify or Soundcloud. See page 129 for more details.

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


Product Description


THE GREAT ESCAPESummer may be in the air, but this Co Wexford holiday home was far from relaxing to build.

SIMPLE DOES ITA low cost and energy efficient design that ticks all the boxes, including seaside views, in Co Down.

FILL IN THE BLANKSA typical semi-detached 1950s suburban home managed to both keep the garden intact and add more space for a growing family.

REBOOT – The solution to a clunky 1970s design in Co Down was a complete remodel and barn conversion at the side.

MODERN DAY MEITHALA rural town in Co Galway came together to help a family who lost their thatched cottage to a freak fire. Dozens of local tradesmen helped build a brand new home from scratch, for free.

RE-TREATRenovating a house with childhood memories is far from easy as this award-winning project in Co Westmeath attests to.

DREAM KITCHEN ON A BUDGETA Co Antrim self-builder shares her experience designing and building her new kitchen.



HOW LAND AND HOUSES ARE TAXEDStamp duty and CGT are the two taxes you’re liable for on property transactions; find out what you have to pay.

THERMAL MASSHow your ‘bricks and mortar’ can store heat.

OVERHEATINGAs if climate change wasn’t enough, there’s a risk we’re building our homes as greenhouses too.

STEP ON ITYour guide to vinyl, linoleum and laminate flooring.

WHERE TO LIVE WHILE YOU BUILDYour options from renting to living on site with pros and cons.

SHED YOUR INHIBITIONS What it takes to add a shed in your garden this summer.

PODS FOR LIFE The latest trend in gardening will see you add a deluxe building that’s built off-site.

PAVING From flags to pavers, here’s what you need to know.



HOW MUCH WILL YOUR WALLS COST? In the second article of our budget series, find out how much the external wall element will set you back.

CLAIMS DENIEDA tax assessor reviews an apparent change in policy on VAT refunds in NI for self-builds.

THE RIGHT MATERIALS FOR YOUR KITCHENEspecially in the kitchen, which you will be using multiple times a day, the finishing touches are essential to get right.

GROW YOUR OWN HERBAL TEAFind out how to grow herbs you can use for tea; plus enter our competition to be in a chance to win a copy of the new book A Cuppa Herbal.

THE ARCHITECTURE OF JOY A layman’s guide to the architecture of well-being.

ASK THE EXPERTYou have questions, we have answers. This issue: extensions that don’t require planning permission, insurance and radon membranes.

SCRAPBOOKFurniture to inject some fun outdoors.