A bespoke home designed to suit you

Now you can design a home to suit your lifestyle. David Spittles discovers the boutique builders
Interiors at Yoo
From £775,000: design-led developer Yoo offers a range of architects and designer interiors
The fear of living in a home that looks like everyone else’s puts many people off new-build. However, the credit crunch has forced developers to be flexible.

Today, more buyers are demanding individuality - and getting it. Customers now influence the size, shape and style of their property. Some developers will even search, on a buyer’s behalf, for the right plot.

You can have your say at the build-and-design stage, creating a one-off house to suit your lifestyle. Perhaps you would include a gym, home cinema, air conditioning, a large, open-plan family space or a compact, hi-tech home.

Normally, the earlier you commit to buying a property, the more changes you can make. So you have the most scope if you buy off-plan.

Builders often have their own architectural brand and planning requirements produce some conformity, so it is not the same as buying a loft shell or commissioning an architect to create a house from scratch. But generally, the more expensive the house, the more flexible the builder.

Staircase in a Millwood family home
A grand bespoke staircase in a Millwood family home

Country cool

“Yeoman-style" houses in the Kent and Sussex commuter belt and country retreat locations are the speciality of Millwood Homes. Managing director John Elliott says: “Sometimes customers ask us to demolish their existing home and replace it with a bigger and better one. Or we work together to find a suitable plot and then steer the project through planning. It’s as close to a blank canvas as you can get.”

Reclaimed materials achieve an authentic appearance. The homes have gabled, half-timbered façades, leaded windows, grand entrance halls with vaulted ceilings and stone fireplaces, plus “super rooms” for relaxed family living. Detached garages incorporate a self-contained studio, games room or home office. “We’ve put in indoor swimming pools, lifts, dumb waiters and wine cellars, surveillance systems and even a stable block for a collection of vintage cars,” says Elliott.

An initial consultation establishes buyers’ priorities. A deposit of £5,000 is followed by five payments during the build. Millwood’s sites include Oast View at Bearsted, Kent, and Dorman’s Park on the Sussex/Surrey border. Prices range from £475,000 to £1,950,000. Call 01732 770991.

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Lakeside homes from Yoo
You can pick a plot at Yoo's 650-acre lakeside homes in the Cotswolds

Yoo choose

Yoo, a design-led developer building a 650-acre lakeside village at Lechlade in the Cotswolds, allows buyers to purchase a plot and select an architect. Prices range from £775,000 to £2.4 million, with interiors by top designers Jade Jagger and Kelly Hoppen. Call 01367 250066.

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Designs for life

On the prestigious Wentworth Estate in Surrey, Millgate (as opposed to Millwood) Homes has two plots with design-and-build service. The finished homes are likely to cost about £6 million. MD David Simpson says: “From start to finish, a project can take up to two years.” Call 0118 934 3344.

Bespoke on a budget

At Stanmore Place in north-west London, where the first phase of 800 apartments and houses has been launched, buyers can “shop” at the on-site interior design studio. Various fixtures, fittings, furnishings, fabric and colour choices are available.

Pool at a Millwood home
From £475,000: Millwood Homes put in everything from pools to security
Developer St Edward Homes has teamed up with design company Vogue London to offer a complete design and move-in package with a menu of paid-for items ranging from cutlery to curtains to audio visual gear. Furniture packs cost from £1,500 and starter accessory packs from £500. Apartments are priced from £240,000. Call 020 8952 2853.

Linden Homes builds “bonus rooms” in the attic of new homes and kits them out as home offices, teenage dens etc. At Parkviews, Epsom, three-storey detached houses cost from £524,995. Call 01372 743742.

At Watercolour in Redhill, Surrey, houses range from £247,500 to £450,000. Call 08452 606606.

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