We are thrilled to announce that two projects taking place at Graven Hill have been shortlisted for this year’s Build It Awards.

Recognising excellence across the board in self-build products, services, suppliers and projects, the winners of this year’s awards will be announced in a special ceremony on 26th November.


Best Brick Home – Darren & Christine Adams

Darren Adams had always wanted to build his own home, but the circumstances had never been quite right to do so. That was until he and his wife, Christine discovered Graven Hill, where they found a plot that suited every need from size and cost, to location. Having renovated properties in the past, the couple got stuck in with the project, taking a hands-on approach.

The finished product is a modern four-bedroom detached home, with three bathrooms and two reception rooms. Three stories and a roof terrace provide the home with external wow factor, while the inside is full of contemporary features and natural light. White brick, double height windows and timber cladding, as well as a flat roof, create a striking finish to the asymmetric home.

In October 2019, Darren and Christine began laying the bricks for the main structure of their home with the help of a local bricklayer. Unafraid to get her hands dirty, Christine took on the role of labourer by carrying the bricks and blocks. The process took four months, and throughout this time, Christine learnt a new skill which she put to use when creating the walls that surround the couple’s garden.

Initially, the couple were considering a timber frame structure, but after consulting their architect they chose brick and block. As well as being very structurally sound, they found this traditional method to be cheaper and more aesthetically pleasing. They also discovered that the building inspection process was much smoother, with brick and block being a tried and tested construction method.

We couldn’t be happier with the way our home turned out. Brick was definitely the right choice for us, creating a visually stunning but also structurally sound and energy efficient result. It is unlike any home we have seen before, and we’re incredibly proud to call it our own.

Being retired, we were able to completely dedicate ourselves to the building of this home, from landscaping and carpentry work to general project management. Our heart and soul is in the very structure of this house and we hope to live here for many years to come.


Best Off-Site Manufactured Home – David Spafford

In 2010, David Spafford started his search for the perfect plot, looking to have greater control over every element of his next home. After several years of searching, he discovered Graven Hill, where he found the perfect plot for him.

The result is a modern five-bedroom home, boasting three bathrooms, an open plan living room and a kitchen-diner. Floor to ceiling windows offer a flood of natural light throughout the home, which benefits from a south-facing aspect. As well as being aesthetically striking, thanks to the cream and light grey exterior and graphite-coloured window frames, the home is also very practical, with a double garage and spacious rooms for David and his guests to enjoy.

David opted for one of Dan-Wood’s modular timber-frame homes for a number of reasons, including:

  • Faster build speed – After 12 weeks of off-site construction, David’s home was erected in just three days, with a tarpaulin used to protect the house for a further three days whilst the roof was tiled. After these six days, the house was weathertight, and work could proceed inside without interruption.
  • High-quality – Being manufactured off-site meant that each element of the home was constructed in a controlled environment. The precision with which work can be carried out off-site, has created an incredibly high-quality result.
  • Efficiency – This precision also means that the home is air-tight, offering improved energy efficiency.
Finding the right plot was a long and frustrating challenge, but the availability of plots at Graven Hill was a game changer. The site’s approach to self-building is a model that I think should be rolled out across the country, enabling more people to build a home that suits them, rather than having to compromise.

Dan-Wood has been a pleasure to work with, delivering my house to a very high standard for a reasonable price. They were happy to make the size adjustments I requested to ensure the house worked best for me.

The final result is a stunning home that is not only pleasing on the eye, but also incredibly practical. My goal was to create a house that was better than anything offered by standard developers, and I believe that I’ve achieved that and more.


The Build It Awards, in association with BuildStore, celebrate all aspects of self-build and renovation, including completed projects, services and suppliers. The full list of nominations can be found here: 2021 Shortlist – Build It Awards.

Feeling inspiring to build your own home? Click here to learn about the opportunities available at Graven Hill.