Family home built on a budget in Co Laois

Alan and Ber Glass not only built their dream home for their young and growing family, they did it in such a way that regular bouts of respiratory attacks are now a distant memory. 

Our only option, if we wanted to get the family home we needed, was to self-build,” says Ber. “We had bought a two bedroom apartment, before we had children. Then when we started our family, we moved to my aunt’s house where we stayed for a while.”  

     “With negative equity still in the apartment, and the need to have a 20 per cent deposit for a mortgage on an existing home, we knew we’d have to wait at least five years to buy a house. So we started looking for a site and found one fairly quickly.”  

     “It was ideal in that it was a good site to get planning permission on. It wasn’t zoned in the County Development Plan as being in an area with a local needs provision attached.” 

Build overview & costs

Site size: 3/4 acre
House size:
2,700 sqft
blockwork (cavity wall)
Heating and hot water:
air to water heat pump
mechanical with heat recovery
Cost (build and finishes):


Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. She previously held the same role in an Irish trade publication, before that she worked at the National Standards Authority of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University in New York and holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles in Madrid. France of origin, she now lives in Portarlington, County Laois, where she's taken on the task of renovating a listed building! Email

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