Contemporary new build bungalow

This new build bungalow in Co Donegal features bespoke finishes on a budget and a stunning garden.

In this article John Fingleton explains how he designed and built his new build bungalow, including:

  • Buying a site with planning permission for a bungalow
  • Redesign process keeping the modern bungalow frontage, adding more glazing
  • How the new build was managed with foreman and direct labour
  • Material choices for building fabric and finishes
  • Complex roof design details
  • Cost savings on roof covering and other elements
  • Importance of garden design and how it came together
  • Biophilic design for the interiors
  • Scandi interiors: how to get the look on a budget
  • Floor finishes and detailing, including shadow gap details
  • Changes during construction
  • Heating system choice and payback
  • Secret to bespoke finishes on a budget
  • Biggest splurge and favourite feature
  • Floor plans, specification and timeline


Plot size: 0.35 acres  
House size: 170 sqm  
Construction: blockwork (cavity walls) and steel frame 
Heating and hot water: air source heat pump 
Ventilation: mechanical with heat recovery 


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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