The Marsdales

The Marsdale family embarked on their self-build project in October 2017 and moved into their timber frame home in June 2019. Read about their experience of designing and building their dream home at Graven Hill below.

“From our perspective, self-building allowed us to design a home that answered both our need for a family-friendly space and our desire to live somewhere that reflects our personality. We discovered the perfect plot at Graven Hill in late 2017 and began building less than a year later in 2018.

“Our home wouldn’t be described as conventional; the first thing that people tend to notice is the three-peaked roof and the charred timber and corten steel-clad exterior. It certainly stands out! Inside, we have five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and an open plan lounge-kitchen-diner, which has proven to be ideal for entertaining family and friends.

“Light was another important factor for us when designing our home, large skylights over the stairwell and huge feature windows across the front of the home, mean that every room is flooded with natural light. Plus, the balcony at the front of the house not only lets in loads of daylight but also gives us unrivalled views over the ancient woodland surrounding Graven Hill.

“We reserved our plot in October 2017, and after working with our architect and builders, Facit Homes, on the layout and design, ground works finally began in August the following year. Using Facit’s unique construction technology, the build itself took just eight months, with the basic structure of the house being completed in three – much faster than many other construction routes. We moved into our new home in June 2019 and have now been living at Graven Hill for over a year. It really does feel like home.

“With two young children in tow, not having to worry about agreeing to site access, planning permission issues, and the hassle of connecting services were three huge benefits of choosing to self-build at Graven Hill, as opposed to taking a traditional route. A more hands-on approach wouldn’t have been practical for us, however the advantages of self-building at Graven Hill and the decision to go with a timber frame structure that could be manufactured offsite, gave us the chance to have our say on all the important aspects without having to be on-site 24/7.”

Marc and Laura Marsdale, self-builders living at Graven Hill since June 2019

The Maliks

Ujjwal Malik and his family moved from a flat in Slough to a 4-bedroom detached custom build home in February 2020. Read about what brought them to Graven Hill, and their experience so far, below.

“We loved our flat in Slough, but with my son starting to find his legs, it became clear that we needed more space.

“My brother had been telling me about Graven Hill for a while, and I was intrigued by the self-build projects he and his friends had undertaken. However, I knew that with a toddler in tow, a self-build would take up too much of our time. Graven Hill’s custom build new homes offered the perfect solution for our needs as a young family, providing us with a level of control over customisation, without the need to get involved in the construction of the property.

“Each of the homes we looked at was beautiful, all with a modern design and light interiors. Compared to our old flat, they were so spacious, and the gardens were a huge benefit. When we came across The Dorn, we knew it would suit us completely.

“Having a garden and a large kitchen diner means we can invite my brother and his friends over without feeling cramped. Family really is at the heart of Graven Hill for us! Being able to watch my son play in the garden and take him on beautiful, local walks is everything my wife and I could have dreamed of.

“Bicester itself is also the ideal location for me and my work. The brilliant transport connections that surround the town make this a breeze, whether I need to travel by car or catch a train to London.

“To those searching for their next family home, we say come and look at Graven Hill. We couldn’t be happier.”

Ujjwal Malik, Custom Build homeowner

Greg Simmonds and Jonny Stiff

After renting in Oxford for a combined total of 12 years, first-time buyers Greg and Jonny quickly decided that Graven Hill was the only place for them.

Keen to stay close to Oxford, with Greg commuting into London, excellent transport links were a top priority. Although not consciously looking for a new build, after researching Graven Hill, it became clear that it was the ideal choice – both in terms of location and the unique homes on offer.

As well as gaining a 20-minute lie-in in the morning and extra time together in the evenings, Greg and Jonny are also excited to be part of our thriving new community.

Read Greg & Jonny’s full story in The Metro

Sanjeev Basra and Dheeraj Malik

Part of a group of friends from Slough looking to relocate and live in a community together.

Thrilled by the concept of building their own home, they have made swift progress on their builds using ICF system.

Soon to be joined by more of their friends, they are looking forward to joining the network of self-builders at Graven Hill.

Keeping up with the Kirkmans

Meet Maggie and Simon Kirkman, the first self-builders to move in to Graven Hill.

From picking their plot right through to moving in to their home in June 2018, the Kirkmans have shared every step of their self-build journey to help other self-builders moving to Graven Hill.

See the Kirkman’s experience of building their dream home at Graven Hill.

The Dunns

“I’d heard about Graven Hill in the news and thought it was just self-build, but I kept seeing Tailored Finish properties on Right Move. I live in Bicester already and wasn’t actually looking to move house but the opportunity to live in such an exciting new development prompted me to visit the Plot Shop.”

“We started our Tailored Finish journey in November 2017 and got in early so we had maximum options to tailor the home to our preferences. Since then we have picked our internal layout from two designs as well as choosing all of our fixtures and fittings.”

“There’s such a big interest in Graven Hill already, but now the houses are going up fast and people can really see what is going on, those homes are going to sell very fast!”

“Our home is located near the woodland area of the site and is a Passivhaus. I love that the site is environmentally friendly, full of green spaces and contains lots of wildlife.”

Sandra Dunn, moving in to a Custom Build New Home.

The Smiths

“Twenty years ago, we built our own home, but it became too much to maintain in retirement so we decided to move.”

“We didn’t want to build our own house again but after speaking to the team at the Plot Shop we found that the Tailored Finish coach house gave us exactly what we needed space-wise, plus we had additional design flexibility that you don’t get with standard new build homes.”

“Our coach house comes with a double garage. That was a huge selling point for us as we can use the additional space as a workshop. We’re also really excited that it is a Passivhaus so the bills will be considerably lower.”

“Graven Hill is in a great location. It’s close to the M40 so it’s ideal for travelling to see our daughter, we’ve got the woodlands on our doorstep and many cycle ways to explore.”

Martin and Christine Smith, moving in to a Custom Build New Home.

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