Designing your new home
A major attraction of self-building is the opportunity to design your own home. Compromising on space becomes a thing of the past as you get creative with space so that it perfectly matches your lifestyle.
As our experienced timber frame home designers help to translate your ideas into designs that work for your site, they will also be designing with timber frame in mind. In doing so they will highlight where your design choices will lead to extra structural costs, so you can weigh up the benefits against the cost and choose where best to invest your budget.
If you are looking to build cost-certainty into your project, choosing to work with Fleming Homes' design team will also help you to achieve an accurate cost for your timber frame early on. There are obvious benefits to understanding the likely costs before finalising your design and securing planning permission. (Remember a full specification timber frame kit erected to wind and water-tight represents approximately a third of your total build cost (not including windows and doors).
Our highly skilled team has been designing homes since 1986. They have seen architectural styles come and go reflecting the spirit of different times, but fundamentally they understand that the key to designing functional, beautiful homes are the people who live in them.
MORe about our high quality architectural design service
Introducing some of the team
When you choose to use our free design service the first thing to know is that you are in expert design hands. Our architectural design team includes Bernard Buss, whose career can be traced back to W H Colt & Son & Co. Ltd, the UK’s timber frame pioneers, where he started as a designer in 1970. In 1986 he was one of the founding directors and shareholders of T Fleming Homes Ltd. Over an extensive career Bernard has become adept at helping clients realise their vision for their self-build homes.
Bernard is joined by Dave Loomis, who studied architecture at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Dave subsequently went on to become a timber frame construction design technician giving him unique insight into how our homes are designed for construction. Having returned to his early passion of designing, Dave blends his knowledge of architectural design and construction to help clients develop their ideas for modern living.
Our design team is further enhanced by Sales Manager, Dan Wilson, who has a background in architectural and construction design and who worked on multiple RIBA award-winning projects before joining Fleming Homes in 2021.
Planning & Building Regulations Manager, Scott Hunter also brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team alongside his impressive success rate of translating designs into planning submissions.
How does the Fleming Homes self-build design service work?
You can start your design journey with Fleming Homes as soon as you have secured your plot. This is essential as orientation, solar gain, gradient, local vernacular, and surrounding properties will all influence what is feasible. Once you own your land our design brief questionnaire makes it easy to get started. We encourage self-builders to provide us with as much detail as possible to give our design team a good initial overview of your project.
On receipt of your completed questionnaire, one of the team will give you a call to ensure we have everything we need. We will also arrange a convenient time for a video call to talk through your project in more detail. At this stage, our team will be working to identify what is feasible for your project and will begin to pin down the parameters of your brief which will help to keep your project on track.
DESIGN SERVICE JOURNEY
We believe that the architectural design of your home should be a collaborative process with you, one that benefits from ongoing reflection and refinement as well as experience. As such we anticipate that you will require amendments to our initial architectural designs as you digest the floor plans and elevations and consider how the proposed space will work in terms of daily living or family life. Your design is always led by your brief and observations; however, we will identify design considerations in relation to the orientation of your plot, local vernacular, and other external factors to help build on your original ideas.
Our experienced team can take you through the concept, planning, and building regulations design process in a seamless way that removes some of the uncertainty associated with navigating these stages on your own.
As we take this journey with you, design and material-led solutions will be developed in response to your brief and in relation to your home’s aesthetics, performance, and cost.
Cost, materials, build system, and structural design principles are all considerations when we work with you on a design from concept to construction. As part of the process, our architectural designers will naturally be thinking about structural and cost efficiencies as they translate your ideas, hopes, and aspirations for your dream home into a design that is balanced against your site, local planning constraints, and your budget.
We don’t have standard designs or a house-style; whether you are looking for an affordable design that is modest in size and designed for low-cost living or a grand façade incorporating timeless architectural design features, we believe that one of the key advantages of being a self-builder is that your home is designed to be just right for YOU.
The different stages of the process are illustrated below giving you a flavour of the type of drawings you will receive from our team.
ORIGINAL DESIGN drawing
CLIENT MARK UP
DESIGN drawing REVISION
Sometimes it will only take one or two attempts to achieve a design that nails your requirements perfectly. And sometimes it can take many iterations to reach a final design. Either way, what is important to us is that we achieve a design that meets your requirements perfectly.
“We gave our ideas to Fleming Homes – just rough sketches – then they emailed us back designs. Over six months we scribbled on the sketches and refined the designs. There was never a complaint about how long it took – I’m not sure we’d have got that service from every timber frame company!” On their completed home self-builders Paul and Rhian Bates said “It’s fabulous! Really special with a tremendous feeling of space”.
Once you finalise the design of your timber frame home we can provide a quotation for your project. This will give you a clear idea of the structural cost implications of your design choices before you approach the planning stage. And if you need to make some changes as a result, no problem, we’ll help you to achieve a design to suit your budget.
When you are happy with both your design and your quotation, our architectural design team can act as your agent helping you to navigate some of the tricky hurdles associated with gaining planning consent. At this stage, you will receive a full set of CAD planning drawings. You can read more about our planning service here.
Since 1986 we have successfully designed hundreds of timber frame homes, each one entirely bespoke and unique to the individual self-builder. Our reason for being, our purpose, is to help you create an amazing home that, simply put, is just right for you. And that is the beauty of taking an active role in the design process, you’ll have produced your own bespoke design (with a little help from us!) that’s been developed to be just how you want it.
We are always happy to connect prospective customers to self-builders who have previously designed a home with us. For an introduction simply email your request to email@example.com.
THE COMPLETED PROJECT
The above design and planning drawings were produced for the farmhouse below. You can read more about this project in our case study.
FREE DESIGN SERVICE
To work with us on your self-build design we only insist on one thing. You must already have acquired your land. The primary reason for this is that your design will be influenced by your plot. Orientation, solar gain, gradient, local vernacular, and surrounding properties will all have a role to play in shaping your design, so it’s essential to work with this in mind. Once you’ve secured your plot of land you can get started with our design service by filling in our detailed questionnaire.
DESIGN SERVICE FAQS
HOW LONG DOES THE DESIGN PROCESS TAKE?
It will usually take 2-3 weeks for our design team to issue an initial design for your consideration. The process is an iterative one based on ongoing discussion, so we expect some back and forth as we accurately translate your ideas as they evolve over time. On average you can expect the design process to take 2-3 months although this will in part be influenced by how quickly you are able to feedback on design revisions and finalise your design.
WHO OWNS COPYRIGHT OF MY DESIGN?
We recognise that the design process is highly collaborative between you, the self builder, and Fleming Homes; however, we expect our design team to add significant value in relation to the design principles and timber frame knowledge that will help shape your ideas into a practical timber frame design. For this reason, Fleming Homes retain the intellectual property rights in the designs we create.
UNDERSTANDING KEY SELF-BUILD DESIGN PRINCIPLES
It’s important that you understand the general principles underpinning a good self-build design, at the outset. Our design team has highlighted some of the key things to start thinking about with your plot in mind.
Our design service will consider all these points and more to ensure your timber frame home is perfect for you. We specialise in one-off homes, designed, and developed around your bespoke requirements and your site’s potential.
Once you have secured your plot get started with our free design service.
“Thanks for this - these are absolutely perfect!”
“Many thanks for sharing this. I am very pleased with the way the design has shaped up.”
“Instead of the usual elevation drawings we are used to seeing and been provided with elsewhere - we couldn't fault it. It provides a much clearer, more realistic illustration of what we are trying to imagine a house to look like. That's much more in tune to what people like us are looking for.”
“Thanks for the initial Sketch Scheme Design. We were both impressed with how the design included so many of the features we specified. It is a good starting point, and we would be interested in discussing it further.”
“We went into the design stage for our dream home a wee bit daunted, without an iota of experience or technical know-how. David Loomis listened and advised and 'pictured'/imagined and double-checked with us every step of the way; we're not daunted anymore and we have the perfect design.”
Aileen & Pam, July 2021
“Thanks again for your hard work (and patience) to make this more than just an idea in our heads – very much appreciated.”
Tony and Martine Lynch, August 2021