David Snell, the king of the self-builders, shares his pearls of bungalow wisdom and calls for the cramped modern family house to carry a health warning
My favourite building is the bungalow I recently built for myself and Mrs Snell. I have a particular hatred of bungalows – at least the little rectangular blocks with no external character that blight acres of our Countryside. Years ago, an architect told me it was hard to give bungalows character, but that’s wrong. Mine looks exciting, both internally and externally. I love light, so the lounge has a full-height cathedral window at one end, and a large projecting bay window.
It isn’t ultra modern – in fact, the design harks back to a traditional schoolhouse. I’ve built 10 houses for myself now and the lesson I learned was not to go too far from the norm. You have to balance originality with convention, otherwise it will be difficult to sell.
My blunder is modern three- or four-bed family houses. They don’t provide space for families to co-exist in sanity. The bedrooms are often too small for children to play in and the lounges only allow for enough space to sit in front of a telly. So the kids get thrown out of the house for being noisy and get into bad ways. From the start, I designed my houses around family. Each one has a kids’ space they can call their own. We used to get other people’s kids using our house like a youth club.
David Snell is the author of Building Your Own Home (Ebury Press, £25)