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Cambridgeshire family make their dream home a reality

A fabric first approach delivers quality dream home

Self Build project

With only one chance to achieve the home of their dreams, Rob and Sarah Collard knew they needed to invest time in researching and getting to know suppliers properly so that they could truly understand what products they needed. This would enable them build a better quality home and realise their self-build dream. 

By trawling through self build magazines and attending a number of home renovation and self build exhibitions they were presented with a wide array of product demonstrations and they quickly came to understand the importance of specifying products that went beyond the basic Building Regulations. After all, decisions made now would last a lifetime.

Having met British Gypsum at an exhibition they were able to see the benefits of taking a fabric first approach and went on to specify Gyproc Habito super strong plasterboard as well as a number of performance plasters including ThistlePro DuraFinish plaster, ThistlePro PureFinish plaster and ThistlePro Magnetic plaster throughout their home – each offering different benefits to them and their family.


The Challenge

It was finding the perfect site that inspired Rob and Sarah to finally begin the self build dream. Surrounded by beautiful countryside yet within striking distance of local amenities, the tranquil setting was ideal for the family life they were after. However, they knew the 1960s house already on the plot, with its wrong orientation and flimsy walls, was not going to satisfy their requirements. They had already lived with the frustrations of flimsy walls in previous properties and wanted to create a home that was flexible and durable so they decided to demolish the original house on the plot to enable them build the home they really wanted.


Demolish and start again

The demolition itself was an easy task and at £7,000 did not do undue damage to the couple’s budget. The entire project from initial demolition through to completion took 20 months – just 6 months more than the couple had initially planned for and the re-build was completed within the couple’s £260,000 budget. 

Self Build project

The products

The Collards used ThistlePro PureFinish plaster on the ceilings throughout the house, which removes upto 70% of formaldehyde from the air.  Formaldehyde, a common VOC (volatile organic compound) has been shown to cause headaches, lethargy, reduced concentration and breathing problems. By specifying it on the ceilings throughout the house the Collards were able to design their home with indoor air quality taken into consideration.

Designing for durability, the Collards also opted for superior specification options to improve the strength of their walls. They specified Gyproc Habito plasterboard that features an engineered core making it 5 times stronger than standard and offering greater levels of durability, strength and fixability for the internal wall linings. Furthermore, the internal walls in the home were finished with ThistlePro DuraFinish plaster – 60% tougher than standard plaster and specifically designed to withstand scuffs and other accidental damage, keeping their home looking fresher for longer.

Rob explains, “What I find really good about the Gyproc Habito plasterboard is you simply need a single No. 10 woodscrew to hang upto 15kg. That was important to us – to be able to hang heavy items and decorate as and when we wanted, without worrying about damaging anything.”



The fun elements

Having first discovered it at an exhibition, the family was inspired by the Magnetic Wall concept and installed ThistlePro Magnetic plaster in the children’s bedrooms. By simply painting over it, their children Harvey, Samuel and Sebastian have Magnetic Walls; the younger children use if for interactive play, creating race-tracks and to display their artwork while teenager Harvey uses it for keeping track of notes relating to his schoolwork.

Sarah concludes, “I think because Rob actually designed the house and we worked on it every step of the way, it is something that we can be really proud of. Starting from scratch meant we could have everything we wanted and it ensured we were able to design in quality materials that will stand the test of time rather than just having to settle for standard.”

To learn more about taking a fabric first approach to your self-build project, request a copy of our self-build brochure.

Gyproc Habito

Significantly enhance your living spaces with Gyproc Habito. It's stronger, more durable and more user-friendly.

Gyproc Habito