A new build house in glorious countryside just a few miles from Auchterarder was snapped up within a week. But don’t worry, another one by the same self-builder will be on sale soon, Jack McKeown says.
Dom Edwards is a man who likes to learn.
He’s gone from doing up his own home to buying, renovating and selling houses and now building two luxury detached houses from scratch – with just a little bit of help.
“I’ve always been quite good with my hands and I learned things as I went along”, the 41-year old explains.
“Quite a long time ago I had a go at replacing the kitchen in our house, and then did a bathroom as well.
“Before long I was renovating whole houses.”
Dom and his partner Helena moved house several times in the space of a few years, buying, renovating and then selling on for a profit.
“We did four or five of our own houses and then renovated and sold three houses,” Dom continues. “Eventually it was going well enough to start doing it full time.”
Dom found a plot of land for sale just outside the Perthshire hamlet of Trinity Gask, around four miles north of Auchterarder.
It had planning permission in place and Dom successfully amended it to two houses the size and style he wanted.
He employed a building firm to dig the foundations, put up the walls and roof, and make the houses wind and watertight. Where possible he used local firms – Rob Roy Homes in Crieff supplied the timber frame kits.
He then fitted out the interiors himself, with a small amount of help from an electrician and heating engineer.
The first house, Bruachmor was finished early this year and brought to market a few weeks ago. Dom’s currently hard at work completing its neighbour, Drumbroch.
“Both names are Gaelic and relate to the local area and the site,” he explains. “‘Bruachmor means ‘slope-more-great’ while Drumbroch means ‘ridged fortified house.’ We put a bit of thought into it and wanted names that reflected the houses’ location.”
It’s certainly a very scenic location indeed. I visit a couple of days after the Beast from the East carpeted Scotland in snow. The A9 is clear but the six miles of the Old Roman Road on which the houses lie is crusted with the white stuff. Fortunately I have a 4×4 and take things nice and easy.
I manage to get my car up the driveway and park it in deep snow next to Dom’s van.
The houses sit on a slight slope running down from a ridge line above. A Christmas tree plantation lies at the back of the gardens – when Dom bought the site the trees marched all the way to where the houses now stand and he had to fell them to clear enough space for gardens.
I step inside Bruachmor and take my snowy boots off. Engineered wood flooring is warmed by underfloor heating and large windows throw in plenty of winter sunlight.
The kitchen is the most impressive space. High end units, built in appliances and a large island occupy one end of the room, while the other end is a living or dining area with a vaulted ceiling, two Velux windows and patio doors opening out to the garden.
The sitting room is at the front of the house and enjoys views across farmland towards the River Earn.
There’s a downstairs office that is all set up for home working and a downstairs bedroom, along with a large shower room and a utility room.
The double garage has a floored attic space above that could easily be converted into an additional home office.
Upstairs are four double bedrooms and a family bathroom. The master bedroom has its own en suite and dressing area.
There’s a large storage cupboard in which Dom has installed pipework for a washing machine. “We moved our washing machine upstairs a few years ago and wouldn’t go back,” he smiles. “Why would you take your clothes downstairs only to take them back up again? We put in pipework here in case anyone wants to give our system a go.”
The upstairs bedrooms showcase the view beautifully, and I can see the sunlight glinting on the waters of the Earn amid the blanket of snow.
“We’re only a few minutes from Auchterarder and Perth but the Roman road is extremely quiet,” Dom continues. “Most of the passing vehicles are local farm traffic.”
An air source heat pump provides underfloor heating downstairs and supplies radiators upstairs, as well as generating hot water. The house is very well insulated and should be economical to run.
There’s a small garden to the front of the house and a large expanse of lawn to the rear, which backs onto the Christmas tree plantation and then fields and woodland beyond. There are patios to the front and rear of the house to enjoy the sunshine all day.
Although Bruachmor sits beside its neighbour Drumbroch, Dom cleverly designed the houses so neither has windows looking into the other and both enjoy great privacy.
Bruachmor sold within a week of going on the market. “We had several viewings and quite quickly got an offer,” Dom explains.
“It was a good feeling because the sale takes some of the pressure off finishing Drumbroch. I was working evenings and weekends on it and now I can go back to a normal working week.”
Anyone disappointed about missing out on Bruachmor should keep an eye on selling agent Galbraith, as the very similar Drumbroch will go on sale with them as soon as it’s completed, which Dom thinks will be towards the end of the year..
Dom previously worked as an evolutionary biologist, gaining his PhD at Stirling University and working at universities in Norwich and Liverpool.
Now that his house renovation and house building business has proven its mettle he doesn’t think he’ll return to his old line of work.
With one house finished and sold, and the other well underway Dom’s eye is now roving around looking for his next project.
“I’ve really enjoyed doing these two houses. It’s very difficult to find the right plot of land though. Larger plots get bought up by the big housing companies and plots for one house get snapped up by people doing self-builds. It’s quite tricky finding a plot of land where you can do a small cluster of unique houses.”
Bruachmor is under offer, however Drumbroch should be completed later this year and will be marketed through Galbraith.