Self-building and Grand Designs Live
I am one of the many avid watchers of Grand Designs. The recent series has been very interesting in the wide variety of design styles, building methods and materials used. One of the systems that really caught my attention is the U-Build System designed by Studio Bark. This is a flat-pack system which involves the building of plywood boxes which are then connected together to form the walls of your structure. The idea that someone with no practical building experience (and in my case limited height and strength) could actually build something with their own bare hands using this system is incredible! I really feel it opens up the self-build world to a whole range of people that previously did not feel they had the budget to pay for lots of skilled labor, nor the knowledge or experience to attempt to build something themselves.
After doing some more research online, I discovered that Studio Bark and the U-Build system where going to be exhibiting at Grand Designs Live in London. This was a great opportunity to see the system in the flesh. It is as simple, well thought through and as beautiful as I had hoped. Having the wooden (spruce or birch) pieces as the final finish for the internal walls is lovely – it creates a wonderfully warm feel. If you were ever in need of some variety, you could always paint or stain sections to create zones within your space and give you something different from the natural wood finish.
In the flesh
As well as wanting to see and touch the actual product, I also went to the exhibit to talk to one of the team about the way the system can be used. On the Grand Designs programme we saw the system used to build a house and a little garden studio – both are stand alone buildings. But my question was, can this exciting system be used alongside other building methods and materials? Can you build an extension to an old brick built house perhaps?
The answer is yes. In order to join the extension, built using the U-Build boxes, to an existing brick built structure some bespoke elements would need to be created and installed. But the rest of the extension you can go on building with your own bare hands and these lovely plywood boxes. This is very exciting news for me!
Don’t just take my word for it, find out more about the U-Build system and find out costings for your own project by heading over to the U-Build site.
In the meantime, I am going to be brainstorming my own extension project and maybe even some ideas for building my own studio at the end of my garden!
All photography © Amy Keast.