New Build Home, East Kent

Client Brief

This client wanted to build a new home in the garden of their existing property in Kent with a view to selling their current home and living with family when the build began. They were initially looking for a detailed design for a four bed, Georgian-style new build, with a guest suite in the basement. They wanted us to create a reliable design and build, with a firm budget.

They had already engaged some alternative contractors but soon before works were due to start on site, the clients were notified of a 30% increase in price. Unsurprisingly, this caused them to lose confidence in the contractors and they decided to find an alternative company. They first became familiar with our work after driving past one of our sites and looking us up online.

The Project

As the build costs they had been quoted by the original contractors had risen significantly beyond our client’s expectations, they tasked us to look at the design with a view to reducing costs. 

An hour of discussion revealed that the basement suite was intended to be used solely for guests. As they were not expecting overnight guests to be an especially common occurrence, it soon became clear that it would be a very expensive luxury and we suggested looking at alternatives to this element of the design. The solution was to slightly lower the property into the ground, make some alterations to the roof space and incorporate two bedrooms into that newly created second floor space, omitting the basement entirely, thereby saving significant amounts of money. This altered the design from a four to a five-bed property, giving them more space and resell value in the property. The budget remained within their range and they got a design better suited to their lifestyle.


The most significant challenges related to the alteration to the design involving the omission of the basement and the addition of the second floor. We carefully worked through the designs and costs prior to work starting, thus ensuring that there were no cost related significant and unpleasant surprises. There were also some holdups due to bad weather, which is not especially uncommon in the UK and the client was very understanding.


The amended brief resulted in significant cost reductions. The end result is a beautiful family home, built to a high specification, within budget.

A particularly special feature is the staircase which runs from the ground floor up to the second level which looks especially impressive.

What the client said…

“We found Vernacular Homes when my wife saw an advert for them and liked the look of their projects. The contractors we were due to start work with had just announced their prices were to increase significantly, and they were not helpful when it came to mitigating these costs. Not only that, but their communication was poor, they had no particular ideas for the build, and they’d charged a lot already before we’d even broken ground; we just had no faith in them, so we looked elsewhere.

Working with Vernacular Homes was completely different. With them, we felt like we had an expert in the room. The planned basement was the most expensive part of the build, so they suggested scrapping that idea and going up into the roof instead, and so they changed the design and planning for us. They gave us lots of choices and great advice. We always felt reassured by them and that we were being given direction and help.

Right from the beginning, we were always told what the plan was: there were no surprises. I hugely underestimated what was involved in the project management side of the build but it all just happened seamlessly. We were always informed about what the next stage would be, and when payment would be due. Every member of the team was a pleasure to deal with. They suffered what we sometimes felt were stupid questions and always made us feel that nothing was too much trouble. We just had huge confidence in them.

They’re a fantastic family company and the quality of the house is brilliant. Sometime after living here, we had a few snags with the windows, so I got in touch with them. They hadn’t actually built these themselves, but they came in and looked at them, and decided that as there was an issue with one window, it might happen to the others too, so they fixed and repainted every single one, which was brilliant. The fact that you can just make a call and they’re there, reinforces what a great company they are.

We’ve lived here for some time now and we often talk about the house and how lucky we feel to live here. My favourite thing about it is the view from the kitchen diner. There’s nothing really about the house that we would change.”

Our views on the project…

“With this project, we found that the clients were very interested in getting their home just right. They were a real pleasure to work with, contributed solid ideas throughout the design stage and were always realistic and able to understand complexities when they were explained to them.

The client is an expert in interior design, which she put to very good use in her home. This resulted in some exceptionally lovely photos for use on our website!”

Contact Us

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